Great Lakes Water Authority denies flooding claims from 24,000 households

Detroit home affected by flood

Metro Detroiters seeking relief from last summer’s floods have one less option for aid.

The Great Lakes Water Authority is denying all claims it received over the past year, placing blame on historic rainfall in July 2021. The decision follows an independent analysis that found some basement flooding was “unavoidable” due to the high level of rainfall.

The move affects about 24,000 households who applied. Bishop Lenard McCray is the director of District 4 Disaster Recovery Group. McCray says the floods have destabilized neighborhoods in Detroit’s lower east side, “because your home has now been devastated by a disaster that could have been averted.”

McCray says his group is turning to philanthropy since government has not done enough to fix the persistent flooding issues. He believes the Great Lakes Water Authority should take more accountability for the pumping station failures that exacerbated the floods.

“So now you’ve got problems on top of problems on top of problems,” McCray says. “These things need to be addressed. These things need to be recognized and people need help.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it has approved more than 56,000 applications from southeast Michigan’s storms last year. FEMA approved about $193 million in individual and household aid.

Officials with the water authority say the basement flooding was “inevitable” because of the intensity of the rainfall. According to an independent report, if pumping stations had worked correctly, about 110 acres of surface level flooding could have been reduced but would have had little effect on basement backups.

The agency also says they have improved the reliability of its pumping stations, and while other wastewater storage concepts could be studied, funding has not been approved yet.

Photo Credit: City of Detroit, Flickr

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  • Eli Newman
    Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.