GLWA upgrades pumping station infrastructure following major flood

Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 21:51:32-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Tuesday, the Great Lakes Water Authority announced an upgrade to two of its pumping stations.

“I’m excited to announce that both Freud and Bluehill pump stations have been converted," Navid Mehram, GLWA's chief operating officer said.

Mehram said three transformers were installed. Each unit has its own wire, which supplies electricity to a pump.

Last summer’s flash flooding in late June put those pumping stations to the test. Five to eight inches of rain poured in a short span and overtook roadways, vehicles and basements.

“Somebody got to step up and get it right," resident Mandel Berryman said.

Berryman, who lives across from the Freud pumping station, said his basement and vehicle are still damaged.

At the time, GLWA said the pumps weren't working because a contractor accidentally cut a wire that carries electricity from the transformer to the pumps.

With Tuesday's announcement, each transformer has its own wire. Previously, two transformers shared a wire.

"It’s got a little peace (of mind) in it, but we’ll see," Berryman said.

No matter how well the pumping stations work, GLWA interim Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Coffey said the biggest limiting factor in the system are the pipes.

“Most of the communities around here, the system’s combined," Coffey said.

"You likely have drainage out in the front of the house on the street, and you have wastewater going to the back of the house and at the end of the block, those two pipes come together. This is why it’s such a challenge. People say, ‘Why don’t you just put more pumps in the pump stations?’ Because the pipes themselves are just not big enough to carry the flow," she explained.

GLWA officials said pumping stations on the Detroit's west side are scheduled to undergo the same upgrades by July.