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Some answers revealed about system breakdowns that caused massive flooding

Posted at 8:56 AM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 08:56:02-04

One week after the record rain fell, we’re finally getting some answers about what happened inside two critical pumping stations that are part of the Great Lakes Water Authority.

The stations are Conner Creek and Freud and internal breakdowns led to massive flooding to thousands of people in Detroit and the Grosse Pointes and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Chief Executive Officer of the GLWA Sue McCormick said during an afternoon Zoom news conference, “It is true we weren’t able to run everything that in a perfect world we would have been able to run.”

Among the breakdowns acknowledged:

  • 4 of 12 pumps in the two facilities were not working
  • power failures internally and coming into the plants
  • workers could not get through locked gates
  • staffing at the two facilities was set for 1 ½ inches of rain that was in the forecast.

McCormick says GLWA has rain gauges around Detroit and “3 gauges in the city registered a one-thousand-year event.”

She says that overwhelmed the system.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller was the first to call for an investigation. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan agreed yesterday there should be an investigation.

McCormick says there will be an internal and outside engineering firm conducting investigations. The internal review could take two to three months.

The answers coming in a Friday afternoon news dump before a holiday weekend is not lost on some.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Public Works Commissioner Miller say this is a start.

“Not doing that, I think, is what created the tension. Especially when people are sitting with flooded basements demanding answers. And cars that are stuck on a freeway still under water,” Hackel said.

McCormick says she doesn’t know how much the breakdowns caused the massive flooding.

A class-action lawsuit is in the works.