DTE, Great Lakes Water Authority prep for winds and rainfall as resident brace for possible backups again

Posted at 6:45 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2022-03-17 20:01:20-04

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — "I don't think they have it together," said Grosse Pointe Park homeowner Pete Mueller about his confidence that the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) will be able to properly manage the pumping systems during another heavy rain event and keep raw sewage from backing up into basements.

"I was left with a black film all over my basement floor and the walls which was sewage," Mueller said. "It wasn't storm water. It was sewage."

In June, thousands of people in the Grosse Pointes and Detroit's east side saw their basements fill with raw sewage after GLWA employees reportedly thought a pumping station could handle the rain from a storm despite that station not being fully operational because of a power outage.

Suzanne Coffey, interim CEO for the GLWA, told 7 Action News that all of their pumps are operational and they're prepared for the rain that's expected Tuesday night.

"Our system is operating as designed. We're in dry weather right now which means we have a lot of excess capacity," Coffey said. "We have power to our facilities. The power quality is good. We are staffing the facilities. So, we're prepared for what comes tonight. We've got everyone in the right places and we're ready."

The Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said their crews were also preparing for possible flooding and urged people to follow these tips in hopes of reducing the storm's impact.

  • Make sure valuables are stored several feet above basement floors in case you experience a flooded basement; store valuable items in water-tight containers; and where possible move valuables to an upper floor prior to and during rain events.
  • Check your basement drain(s) to make sure they are not clogged and no items are over them in case they are needed if water enters your basement.
  • Clean your gutters and make sure there are no items blocking the downspouts; help your neighbors do the same, especially seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Clear leaves, trash, and other debris from above and around the catch basins near your home or business; move cars parked over the catch basins; and make sure no objects such as garbage and recycling bins are on top of the storm drain.
    • Rain storms can push trash left on streets and property into the catch basins on streets, causing street flooding due to clogs and can potentially lead to blockages in the city’s combined sewer system.
  • Stay clear of standing water in your basement or lower level of your home if the area includes electrical appliances, outlets, and a fuse box.
  • Do not flush anything in your toilet except the three P’s: Pee, Poop, and toilet Paper; flushing anything else may cause your sewer line to clog and back up into your basement.
  • Do not put anything but water into the drains – no grease, oils, fats, or other debris