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Talking with MDOT about the lessons learned from recent storms

Posted at 6:41 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 19:21:48-04

(WXYZ) — Families are still recovering following multiple storms that have wreaked havoc across metro Detroit.

Thousands are still without power from last week's storms.

From the flooded homes to the freeways underwater, many are asking "Why does this keep happening?"

Joining us to talk about it in the 7 UpFront segment is MDOT Director Paul Ajegba.

You can see the full interview in the video player above.

"In the past, we've been able to [make] do with what we have," Ajegba says. "Where in 2014, I think, we had a major storm we were able to take a temporary generator and go from one pump station to the other. But lately, what we've been seeing is the frequency and the severity of the storm is way too much than the outlet pipes can handle. The June 25th storm was a 500-year storm, we had over 7-8 inches of rainfall in a 24 hour period in the metro Detroit area. So, with that, we also had power failures. I always use the simple explanation that it's like having a sump pump in your basement. It's supposed to pump out water. But, if you don't have power to that sump pump, it's not going to work and it's going to flood. And in this case, that's what happened. We did not have power to about 28 pump stations in that 24 hour period. So we had a lot of water back up, and even the ones that were working the outlet pipes were not big enough to pump that water out at once. So the flooding issue really brought this to light that we need to invest in generators at each of the 140 pump stations that we have in the metro Detroit area."