Contact: Norb Franz
Communication Manager, Macomb County Public Works Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2021
Macomb County Public Works commissioner calls for independent investigation of pump station
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller on Thursday called for an independent investigation of the operation of the Conner Creek Pump Station in Detroit, in the aftermath of last weekend’s heavy rain and widespread flooding.
“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 no wastewater system in Michigan is designed to fully handle a 6- to 7-inch rainfall like parts of the area got last weekend, but steps could have been taken to minimize the likelihood of extensive flooding that ensued in areas of Detroit and the Grosse Pointe communities along the Jefferson Avenue corridor.
Miller said the investigation should be conducted by an independent firm or team with no past or current ties to the Great Lakes Water Authority – which operates the Conner Creek Pump Station -- in order to avoid any appearance of favoritism.
“The public needs to have confidence that the investigation will be conducted with the utmost transparency,” Miller said. “Those who are dealing now with the cleanup of flooded basements, and all ratepayers, deserve that.”
Furthermore, Miller said a complete operational audit is needed of how the Conner Creek Pump Station operates.
When that facility shut down, it impacted communities upstream. The Marter Pump Station on Jefferson at the Macomb County-Wayne County border was shut down in order to halt further flow to Conner Creek. In turn, 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.”
“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,” the commissioner added.
21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI, 48036