What this weekend's flooding says about Michigan's infrastructure

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2022-03-17 20:25:32-04

(WXYZ) — As metro Detroit families are still dealing with the aftermath of this weekend's severe flooding, many are calling the state's infrastructure into question.

In tonight's 7 UpFront we're looking at the issue with Doctor Bill Shuster, Professor, and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Wayne State University.

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

"It is safe to say everyone is feeling vulnerable. We've had increasingly unpredictable extreme rainfall events. They're, basically, making out infrastructure look outdated at this time, so we're basically undersized and overstretched in response to these precipitation events," Dr. Shuster says. "What's to be done? It really demands quite a bit of assessment work. Each part of the Detroit metro area cycles water differently and, of course, we have all the infrastructure that plumbs our wastewater, stormwater system, the collection, the conveyance, the treatment, and this is aging infrastructure, we've known that for some time, and so we are really in a situation here where every aspect of the civil environmental experience, our transportation, our structural integrity (buildings), wastewater, every aspect of these critical services provided by these infrastructures is severed during an event like this. So, we really have to start looking at, again, equitable data, data assessments that take place in each area of town and you need good data to develop good engineering design approaches. That would be my general approach to this conundrum we're in. The resilience of our systems is very low at this point."