Basements hit with flooding again on Detroit's east side as residents question GLWA pumps

Detroit resident Taylor Harrell’s basement drains doubled as fountains on Friday.

A noxious mix of storm and wastewater backed up into her east side home, washing away the few cleanup gains she had made after her basement flooded three weeks ago.

"I just got my hot water tank, the pilot re-lit after having three different companies come out and try to relight it and finally having hot water again," she said. "I've got my flooring on the stairs torn up and paying to get the basement power washed and sanitized, only to have to do it again."

Harrell lives in the service area of the Bluehill pumping station which partially lost power during the downpour, according to the Great Lakes Water Authority on Friday.

It’s exactly the situation the GLWA said it was working to avoid after the Conner Creek pumping station lost power three weeks ago during a violent storm. It left basements in Detroit and Grosse Pointe flooded.

The water authority had this to say Thursday:

"The part that we are doing different this go-round is the 60 miles per hour winds," said Navid Mehram, GLWA. "We are anticipating some power disruption and because of that we are increasing our emergency generator supply, just in the event that we have two power feed outages."

Related: Parts of Dearborn Heights left under water from heavy rainfall Friday

Despite that promise GLWA had to send a response team to the Bluehill station on Mack Avenue to get the emergency generator on after experiencing an "external power quality issue."

The scene in Taylor Harrell's basement on Friday.

The scene in Taylor Harrell's basement on Friday.

"We shouldn’t be going through this," said resident David Macklis. "These pumps shouldn’t be losing power. You all should have more stuff to keep them going - especially when we’re getting a load of water. You know about the water before it even comes, you’re supposed to be prepared."

Related: Great Lakes Water Authority says it is ready for next round of rain in forecast

Macklis also lives in the Bluehill service area and his basement flooded as well.

"Man, to deal with all of this and the smell and trying to bleach it and all of that, it’s very frustrating," he said.

Both he and Harrell say while Friday’s flooding was not as severe as the backups they experienced during the thousand-year rain event three weeks ago - it’s just as galling.

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"Gary Brown and the (Detroit) water department, Great Lakes Water Authority, the mayor, all of them need to be held accountable and address what is happening - climate change," Harrell said. "The climate is changing so the infrastructure must, too."

The entire Great Lakes Water Authority statement is below:

"The current rain event began with an intense early rainfall. There are some reports of flooding in localized, isolated areas and particularly on the freeways. Since the beginning of the rain today, GLWA’s Water Resource Recovery Facility is operating as designed. The Conner Creek and Freud Pump Stations continue to operate as designed and with available capacity. Water levels at both pump stations have remained well below the levels that would result in basement flooding .

"An external power quality issue was experienced at the Blue Hill Pump Station, located in Detroit. Although it was not a complete power outage, we dispatched a response team to the site. The team quickly initiated the emergency generator and worked closely with the energy partners to resume full operations of the pump station. Power issues are resolved, and the pump station is operating as designed. The tributary area of the pump station is described in the attached map. 

"GLWA will conduct an after-event analysis and work with the residents in the tributary system to determine if flooding was experienced.If residents believe their local water/wastewater service provider caused damages or injuries, they should file a claim with their local provider. If residents believe the regional system caused damages or injuries, please file a claim with GLWA here."