The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) says it does not believe human error was a problem in its response to last month’s major flooding in Southeast Michigan, or in the operation of the Conners Creek pumping station. Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller and other Detroiters are calling for an independent investigation of GLWA’s response to see if that’s really the case.
“I do not believe [the GLWA pumping stations] were operated optimally that night. I think many mistakes were made.” —Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller
Listen: Candice Miller on the push to investigate the Great Lakes Water Authority.
Candice Miller is the Public Works Commissioner for Macomb County. She says during last month’s flooding, the GLWA pumping stations should have been appropriately staffed in anticipation of the major rain event. GLWA CEO Sue McCormick says her organization was staffing pump stations for a predicted 1 inch of rainfall.
“Everyone else said we could be looking at 3, 4 inches of rain. That’s what we were staffing for,” says Miller. ”You’ve got to have people on standby.”
Miller, a former member of Congress and Michigan Secretary of State, says there needs to be an independent investigation into what happened at the GLWA pumping stations that night, emphasizing no one from the organization should be involved. “If that’s the best that we can do, then I guess we all need to know that and recognize that,” she says. ”I do not believe [the GLWA pumping stations] were operated optimally that night. I think many mistakes were made.”
She says the flooding that happened in Detroit is not the fault of the city’s response. “I’m talking about the Great Lakes Water Authority. I’m not talking about the Detroit Water and [Sewerage] Department. Gary Brown does a great job running the Detroit Water and [Sewerage] Department.” Miller says she and her colleagues in Macomb County are continually attempting to separate the combined sewage systems all over Southeast Michigan. “It can be done if you have the political will to do it,” she says. ”We do not have to live this way; we just keep pushing it off to the next generation.”