Macomb County Public Works commissioner calls for investigation of Detroit pump station after flooding

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller called for an independent investigation of a Detroit pump station after severe flooding last weekend.

Heavy rain Friday into Saturday caused widespread flooding in Metro Detroit that closed freeways and filled basements with water.

More: Resources available for flood victims in Metro Detroit

Miller wants the operations, including a complete operational audit, of the Conner Creek Pump Station to be investigated by an independent firm with no ties to the Great Lakes Water Authority. 

"The rain was coming – we all knew it was coming," Miller said. "It appears there was a management failure at the Conner Creek Pump Station. They needed to have it properly manned. They needed to have a backup plan, like a generator if the electricity went out."

Miller said that while no wastewater system in Michigan is designed to fully handle a 6- to 7-inch rainfall, steps could have been taken to minimize the likelihood of extensive flooding.

According to Miller, what happened with the Conner Creek Pump Station led to the Marter Pump Station on Jefferson at the Macomb County-Wayne County border being shut down in order to halt further flow to Conner Creek. 

Related: Residents of Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood demand answers after severe flooding

Combined storm sewer flow backed up beyond the capacity of the drainage district that serves St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe. It forced Macomb County Public Works crews to discharge a total of 96 million gallons of chemically treated sewage from the Chapaton Retention Basin and the Nine Mile Emergency Bypass, both located at Nine Mile Road and Jefferson.

"That was a necessary move," Miller said. "We were that last line of defense. Had we not, the same kind of flooding experienced in Detroit and Grosse Pointe, would have happened to thousands of homes in St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe."

Miller said heavy rain will happen again, but something different needs to happen then.

"We all know it’s going to rain again and we will have another severe wet weather event. However, next time the Great Lakes Water Authority system must perform better," she said.