Detroit officials say sewage system is not built to handle the intensity of recent flash floods

Posted at 6:11 PM, Aug 30, 2021

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Neighborhoods on the west side of Detroit are still cleaning up the mess left behind by Friday's torrential downpours.

The flooding left cars stranded in the middle of the road --- some people's basements filled with water causing damage they just can't afford to fix.

Tree service crews were out on Clayburn Street Monday cleaning up debris.

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department says a radar report shows that on Friday the west side area got 3.5 inches of rain in just 20 minutes.

Anthony Moore says most of the drains on Clayburn Street don't function properly.

"This the only one that's working. Now the last rain we just had, I am standing right here and the water was way up here," Moore said while motioning to his waist.

Lucky for his neighbors, Moore's a maintenance technician and every time there's flooding he comes to the rescue.

"​I hope the city gets on it," Moore said. "I know they're really busy with all the floods, but we got to do something about this. This is crazy with the mosquitos and everything out here."

Some neighbors sent us pictures of their basement's on Friday evening, many looked more like a pool than a living space.

Marques Haney lives just a few doors down from this house. He says between paying inspectors and replacing water-damaged appliances he's down about $2,000.

"Every time it rains like that it floods and it's just costing us money and money we don't have at that time," Haney said.

When it comes to flooding, Haney worries most about mold build-up, which poses a huge risk to his little boy.

​"I got kids so when it comes to getting flooded I got to hurry up and clean it up before mold gets in there and... I am just throwing stuff," Haney said.

7 Actions News reached out to the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. They say they are planning to have crews come pump the drains.

"With the size of the events that have been happening, they are so far off the curve that we don't even have the data to understand how to model the system for the future so that is where we are," said Palencia Mobley, deputy director for the Detroit Water and Sewage Department.

Unfortunately, neighbors are still dealing with the aftermath and are afraid of what the next storm may bring.

The city is sending crews out here tonight to pump the drains out and clear out any debris that may be clogging them up.

There was a wastewater master plan done in 2020 that looked at separating sewage systems within this region, which would make them more resilient, but the price tag for that would be upwards of $15 billion.