MDOT: Your trash is causing major highway flooding

Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 18:31:58-04

We’ve seen massive flooding on Metro Detroit roads this summer.

Just a few weeks ago it shut down several major highways, damaging cars and causing a headache for drivers.  

We all see trash on the roads. Maybe you’re the one responsible for tossing garbage out the window, but MDOT says it’s causing a much bigger problem than just aesthetics.

“We’ve seen anything you can imagine that would end up in a regular garbage can, ends up on the freeways. We’ve seen pizza boxes on the side of the road,” MDOT’s Matt Chynoweth said. “Shoes, car mufflers, anything.”

It’s clogging up multi-million dollar pump stations working to get the water off our roads.

“The pump station is used to pump the water up from the catch basins, that’s at the low point and then pump the water back to street level so it could get in the local storm system,” Chynoweth said.

The pump station off Southfield Road in Allen Park pumps water from the low level road under the railroad tracks.  It just got a million dollar renovation and there are dozens of other stations across Metro Detroit. 

Despite efforts to pump the water from the road, last month heavy rains brought massive flooding, shutting down several major highways.

“The pump houses in that area were working just fine, Wayne County forces responded to the area and found a lot of the inlets, catch basin inlets were clogged with debris so it was a function of cleaning that up and everything drained,” Chynoweth said.

There are maintenance crews out working to pick up the trash on the roads, but MDOT says they need your help before it gets worse.

“One of the big issues we have, especially in the metro area and our urban areas - you know these low points are low points for miles and miles around,” Chynoweth said.  “So a lot of the litter and garbage makes its way to the low points, clogs up the catch basins, gets into the pump house, we do have trash racks that tries to filter that stuff up from getting sucked up in the pump because that stuff could actually damage the pump.”

A simple fix? Make sure your trash, ends up in the trash bin.