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Grosse Pointe residents want solutions in wake of metro Detroit flooding

Posted at 11:13 PM, Jul 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 06:16:52-04

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. (WXYZ) — How does a Grosse Pointe Park intersection suddenly turn into a geyser? And why did sewer water back up into hundreds of basements for the second time in three weeks?

Homeowners across Grosse Pointe want answers.

"We haven't heard anything yet from GLWA (Great Lakes Water Authority) on this one in particular," said Grosse Pointe Farms Mayor Louis Theros. "The initial thing was they said all their pumps were working, but we don’t know yet because our neighbors in Grosse Pointe Park and City were hit harder than we were."

Despite having the highest rainfall totals in metro Detroit on Friday, Grosse Pointe Farms saw much less flooding than their neighbors. Theros estimates roughly 200 homes in Grosse Pointe Park had flooding again Friday, while about two dozen homes had flooding in Grosse Pointe Farms.

“Yeah a couple people down there, a couple doors down and a few doors down had water that came in again,” said Farms resident Russell Licavoli.

Friday was another sleepless night for Licavoli and his neighbors, just three weeks after roughly 1,300 homes in the Farms flooded on June 26. They feared the same flooding could happen again, which resulted in thousands of dollars in damages.

“Our insurance company estimated $16,000. $16,000 of losses,” Licavoli said about the June 26 flooding.

Theros says the city spent half a million dollars in cleanup alone, and said that major investments in the city’s sewer system are coming.

“That's been a priority for us for the last five, six, seven years," Theros said. "It’s just really doing all the engineering and the testing, because that will be a major project.”

This major project is expected to cost roughly $20-25 million. It would separate more storm water, redirecting it from the sewer system.

“We’re hoping this project takes out about 35% more rain water out of the system which is a significant amount,” Theros said. “The engineers have come up with a plan and we’ll probably start talking about it and biding it out this fall."

However Theros says this alone still won’t solve the problem, since the problem is a regional one.

"It’s a very systemic issue that takes a lot larger repairs than just one municipality doing what we’re doing,” Theros said. "You can tell by the price that GLWA put on it which is $17 billion, our spending $50 million is just a drop in the bucket.”

The GLWA says the Connor Creek Pump was operating as designed on Friday, and had water levels well below the amount that would result in basement flooding. But clearly, basements still flooded and residents want answers.

“A solution," Licavoli said. "Every time it rains, you can't be thinking ‘oh my God, another flood.'”

“We’d like to get to the bottom of this," Theros said. "We’ll hopefully get some answers this week.”