10 Foot Waves, Flooding And The Reason Why. What Some Residents Are Doing To Find The Answers

Some residents of Dearborn Heights are not settling for the same old answers as to why they flood. Not any more and they are uncovering some very interesting things. Below is a letter from Suzanne Todd of Dearborn Heights and information that she’s found. Drains where they are located and where they dump their water.
Hi Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton and Commissioner Webb,,
I thought it was funny that no one would tell us about the Butler Drain and why some of the websites regarding the NBECD were taken off line;  now I know why.
I’ve spent a lot of time on this drain and found the hidden piece we have been looking for from some literature published in 1996 from a group called “Downriver Citizens for a Safe Ecorse River”.  I was also able to put two and two together with literature from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the DEQ.  During the 1990’s the Butler Drain was probably an open waterway as the DCSE was able to take samples from it.  I feel my deduction is spot on or at the very least is very close to being spot on.
The Inkster Retention Basin is located on the Lower Rouge River riverbank just off of Inkster Road and north of Michigan Avenue.  The Butler Drain actually comes from the Inkster Retention Basin area and parallels Inkster Road south to where it empties in NBECD at the northeast side of Van Born Road. I found a structure on the corner of Annapolis and Inkster Road that looks like a pumping station and the old 1996 study says that is where they got a sample of water for testing back in 1996 from the Butler Drain.
My deduction is that the Butler Drain is a secondary channel for water that cannot go into the Inkster Retention Basin when it is full, so that water is pumped through the Butler Drain, down Inkster Road where it than discharges that water into NBECD.  No wonder the USACE in its General Revaluation Report of 2011 of the NBECD called it a major tributary to the NBECD and WHY those buggers in the government agencies do not want to admit its there.
That 10 foot wave that came sweeping down the creek (and was recorded by a USGS monitor on August 11, 2014) in Dearborn Heights was  probably caused by the pumping station at Annapolis and Inkster Road.  What with water from the Butler Drain being pumped under pressure, the Douglas-Kelly Drain, Interstate I-94 and the  Trouton, Freeman and Black Creek Drains its a wonder the houses that were hit with this tsunami were not washed completely away.  Its even more of a miracle that people were not drowned and were able to escape with their lives.  They might not be this lucky next time.
Our local and state governments owe the people of south Dearborn Heights especially those poor souls living right next to the NBECD a whole lot of explanations as to why this was allowed to happen to us for almost 50 years.  What an immoral thing our local and state governments did to us.  They should be jailed for their acts and made to pay heavy fines.
I hope Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton and Commissioner Webb you will take this by the tail and swing those buggers around until they get dizzy.
Most Sincerely,
Suzanne Todd
DCSE – Downriver Citizens for a Safe Ecorse River.
DEQ – Department of Environment Quality (note this is usually refers to the Federal since the State is MDEQ – Michigan DEQ
NBECD – North Branch of the Ecorse Creek Drain.
USACE – United States Army Corps of Engineers (A misleading term since this element of the Federal Government is not worried about engineered solutions and fixing civic problems, just money and the finances behind the project.  AKA – the funding of a project)
I’m very interested to know does our Mayor know any of this? Has the City ever done a study to get the information that you Suzanne (god bless you) have spent hours getting? If not why? The City should be able to ask for and receive this information if they took the time to do so.The mayor is absolutely is aware of this.  He was a champion (on our side) of this issue until 2009.  Something happened in 2009 /2010 for him to back off and play the deflection game on this issue and every issue surrounding the Ecorse Drain. 
It’s not just this Mayor I’m talking about every Mayor this City has ever had
I find it very interesting that the City of Dearborn Heights has never gone to “bat” for the residents. Yes this is very interesting that since 2009 the mayor has done a 180 degree turn on this issue.
We hear this Mayor talk about suing this and that over the flooding, but we never hear anything about results. Because results are not feasible. Taylor and the county will have to pay a lot of money if we are to fix this issue and they don’t want to pay, they would rather dump for free and under the radar of confusing and incomplete info. 
Has the City ever received any money from any of the cases, or case it’s brought? If they did where is it and how much was it? They did win a case in 2010 however they did NOTHING with it but put it to the ACE for another study which was de-funded – more stall tactics for sure.
Another thing that I think is very important and people should look into is the fact that the City assess basements on some of the homes on the south end of the City as living space. They collect that money, the insurance companies base the amount of insurance you pay on the square footage of these homes. Yet FEMA, the insurance companies and the rest now say this in sub level/under ground and they will not cover it. How then has the City been collecting tax dollars on this portion of these homes as living space?
I bring this up because when this was mentioned at a council meeting the Mayor almost choked. He looked very worried and said that they were talking to people “higher ups” or something like that to change the definition. Well did he? The mayor and the talking heads have no power by themselves to change this.  We as citizens have to call them out on such arrogant statements.
Is FEMA now paying? FEMA laws are FEMA laws period.
Is this just going to go on like this with-out a solution if this isn’t considered living space then the City can’t collect taxes on it. They should be sued for all tax money paid to them. Someone should talk with a lawyer or a group should start looking into this. Oh yes very wrong and I do not think that it is limited to the Ecorse Drain issue only.
I’d like to thank Troy who answered these questions for me in an email.
Mr. Mayor did you get the definition changed for the residents on the South End of Dearborn Heights? Are those basements now covered by FEMA? Mr. Mayor what happened to make you have a 180 degree turn around back in 2010? Are you going to stop taking taxes on the under ground/basement portion on these homes on the South End of Dearborn Heights? Mr. Mayor you had a 10 foot wave that came sweeping down the creek (and was recorded by a USGS monitor on August 11, 2014. Don’t you want to know where that came from?

13 thoughts on “10 Foot Waves, Flooding And The Reason Why. What Some Residents Are Doing To Find The Answers”

  1. May be helpful for flooded residents.

    Renters Advised to Register for Disaster Assistance (Updates During Disasters)

    FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) sent this bulletin at 11/07/2014 06:27 PM EST
    Renters Advised to Register for Disaster Assistance
    11/07/2014 08:36 AM EST

    Warren, Mich. – Southeast Michigan homeowners and renters who lost personal property as a result of the August severe storms and flooding may be eligible for disaster-related assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies.

    Renters who suffered damage to their apartment or leased/rented house are encouraged to contact FEMA.


    Government Information Network Powered By GovDelivery


  2. Thanks to few residents who are working very hard to discover all the facts about the massive flooding in the south end and shed the light on what been dumped in the NBEC and who is dumping and why no measures been taken to stop that and safeguard DH south end homes. Its time for city officials to wake-up and do something about it and inform DH about what they doing and what results been accomplished. A lot of research, studies, plans, meetings, review, but the flooding keep coming back and more frequent. Talk and more talks without results and actions to stop or minimize the flooding damages.


  3. In addition, we will continue to meet with elected officials and our local Wayne County representatives from the Drain Commission. I will be meeting with members of our community concerned with the recovery and mitigation related to the flooding in Dearborn Heights on Friday, November 7, 2014 at Panera’s in the Heights. I wish to inform our residents, if you are in need of furniture, clothing, food, utilities assistance, and you have been denied FEMA and SBA Loans, please contact me . I am working with several organizations to bring much needed resources to our community. Lastly, I am beginning a letter writing campaign to our state and federal elected Senators and Representatives, Here is the preliminary contact list:

    Writing a letter to Governor Snyder and our U.S. Representatives in regard to the flooding mitigation project. The problem, identified over 10 years ago, has not been resolved. Our residents have not seen relief. We must get this project moved to the top of the Army Core of Engineers’ list. Residents are encouraged to contact the House and Senate, as well as our U.S. Representatives:

    Washington, D.C. Office
    2328 Rayburn HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-4071

    Dearborn Office
    19855 West Outer Drive Suite 103-E
    Dearborn, MI 48124
    Phone: (313) 278-2936


    2426 Rayburn H.O.B.
    Washington, DC 20515

    33300 Warren Rd
    Suite 13
    Westland, MI 48185-9620


    Lisa Hicks-Clayton
    Dearborn Heights City Councilwoman


  4. Thank you Councilwoman Horvath for looking into this, I am glad to have you on board as what is happening to those of us in south Dearborn Heights is not only just wrong it is criminal.

    Hopefully you can get the information we need. Since investigating this matter we have been lied to, misdirected, and plain ignored. Wayne County commissioner Diane Webb and Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton have asked the drain commissioner himself to give us answers to our questions and he won’t answer either one of them.

    I truly believe that pumping station on Annapolis and Inkster Road is connected to the elusive Butler Drain that no one wants to admit is there. The Butler drain is listed in a lot of material I have researched but can’t seem to find it on any map. It starts somewhere around where Inkster Road crosses the Lower Rouge River and ends near where Inkster Road goes over the NBEC just north of Van Born . In a 2011 report the United States Army Corp of Engineers said it was a “major tributary to the NBEC”.

    It is also interesting to note that a pump is located where the NBEC splits Banner Street just west of Telegraph. I just went there today to eyeball it.

    Here’s the scenario. The Butler Drain discharges water under force into the NBEC. This causes the horrendous flooding on Hanover and streets due north that are west of Telegraph. Next this water hits the Banner Street Pump which is a grinding pump, meaning it chews up debris in the storm water so the NBEC will flow easier; however, this creates additional force in the water where it causes horrendous flooding for people on Hanover and streets north on the east side of Telegraph. Now the water keeps traveling eastward to where the Jackson Street pump starts spewing out sewer and storm water during a flood event so that water is pushed to where the NBEC goes under Southfield. Unfortunately that culvert at the Southfield Freeway is so clogged up, this rushing water rams it like hitting a brick wall and it backflows up the Ecorse Creek to make matters even worse for those people upstream from the Southfield Freeway.

    We are not finished yet. You have all the water from above coming into the NBEC PLUS the Kelly-Douglas Drain which drains parts of Taylor and I-94. You can see where this drain disgorges into the NBEC. Go west on Van Born crossing over Beech-Daly, about 100-300 feet from Beech Daly you will see its opening coming from the south underneath Van Born Road where it meets up with the NBEC. There are also several industrial sites that drain their storm water into the Ecorse Creek via the Douglas-Kelly Drain..

    Wait, still not finished. There are three drains that form the headwaters of the NBEC (Trouton, Freeman and Black Creek) that drains parts of Romulus and several industrial sites along their paths as they become one stream called the NBEC.

    There is so much politics involved with this issue and the powers responsible do not want anyone to know the sources of all the water that is being blasted into our tiny creek. They keep with the same old mantra of it “was a very heavy rain that caused the flooding”; closer to the truth is like trying to dump 5 gallons of water in a 1 gallon bucket and complaining because you have too much water slopped out of it. The common sense answer is to stop putting 5 x more water into a bucket that can’t hold that amount or get a bigger receiving bucket..

    Unfortunately, through all this researching I have learned more about politics, pumps, sewers etc. than I ever wanted to. Hmmm, politics and sewers, interesting thought.


  5. She is looking into the flooding and the drains when she finds out some more information she will post it up here. She had posted, but asked me to take it down until she got more information. She went to the location that was put up here to look at it herself I’m thanking her for anything that she can find out.


  6. “Thank You Councilwoman Horvath Plese let us know anything that you can find out I think 50 years is long enough.
    #nomoreflood #floodingfor50”

    Good news, What happened? What she did?


  7. Did you ever go to the south field service drive in Allen park and look at the creek there ? I don’t know how the water flows through those 2drain pipes especially with the garbage that s in the creek and wayne county refuses to clean out and part of the creek is not flowing. garbage that is in the creek has been in there since the fall caught around a big branch that is stuck there and they are refusing to clean.


  8. Flooded,

    A great deal of money has gone to clean up the Rouge River and that is why the Inkster Retention/Disinfection Basin was built. Unfortunately nothing has been spent on the North Branch of the Ecorse Creek Drain/NBECD; in fact, because legally it is considered a “drain” and not a “river”, any city, MDOT and MDEQ licensed industries can dump into the NBECD. That is why the Butler Drain (which drains parts of Wayne, Westland and Inkster) is allowed to dump in the NBECD thus the need for that powerful pump to get it into the NBECD..

    Now there are plans to build a giant mall, hotel etc. on the land south of I-94 and Vining Road. This will mean even more water diverted to the NBECD and if nothing is done we are looking at facing more flooding even during a normal rain event..

    South Dearborn Heights is the lowest elevation and is the reason we flood so badly. When all this water hits south Dearborn Heights the creek overflows and fans out for several blocks in our city. We are like one giant retention basin for all the other cities, I-94 and licensed industries. If Dearborn Heights didn’t exist, cities like Allen Park, Melvindale and Lincoln Park would look like we do in a heavy rain event. However, because more and more water is being discharged in the SOUTH Branch of the Ecorse these cities have been flooding more and more in the past 7-8 years.


  9. Why they have to pump from lower ground in Inkster to the North Ecorce branch, There is a park/golf course in that area and can be used similar to Hines Park as a natural retention? I tough south dearborn heights is the lowest ground on the Ecorce watershed?


  10. Just wanted everyone to know that today I did an actual eyeball inspections of the sites rather than just Goggling the bird’s eye view, its amazing how much you miss. There is a very large pumping station on the northwest corner of Inkster and Annapolis that has a cyclone fence around it and lots of “Keep Out” signs. This pumping station has a huge back-up generator with signs saying “Danger-High Voltage”. This looks like one very-heavy duty, no-nonsense pump.

    No wonder the US Corp of Engineers advised putting a large retention there at that corner. I am certain this pump sits right on the Butler drain and floods the NBECD with all the waters it collects. This pumping station is either draining large areas of Inkster, Wayne and Westland or water from the Lower Rouge is being diverted into the NBECD or maybe even both.

    I decided to ride south on Inkster Road from Annapolis to where the creek goes under the road at Hanover Street, not Van Born Road, as I originally thought. I wanted to get out of my car and walk up and down the creek bank. However, since I was alone I didn’t feel comfortable doing that so I will wait for a time when my husband can accompany me. I feel very certain that the outfall for this pumping station will be just a short distance from the Inkster Road bridge over the NBECD.

    All I have to say is, if the mayor and council knew about the Butler Drain and the other drains bearing down us during a heavy rain event, shame on them. This knowledge is not only amoral but is criminal as well. When I think of how close Troy and Heidi’s little 2 year old grandson came to drowning in his own grandparent’s family room no less, it makes me my blood pressure soar. I am so very angry with all the misdirection’s, bold face lie and ignoring our requests for information that we were recipients of from Wade and Trim, the Drain Commissioner, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corp of Engineers.

    I would like to say that everyone who is reading this to please keep all your videos and photos as Troy will make a power point of the them so that we can present to government committees and representatives what really happened in Dearborn Heights. In addition , your own personal description and testimony of what happened on August 11, 2014 will also make an impact, as I will copy them and make booklets to give out with our power-point presentation.

    People, the time for us to strike is now, because the Feds declared us a Disaster Zone this year and that has only happened once or twice in the last 50 years I have been chasing this problem. This event is still fresh so we need to keep it going until we get immediate action and not wait for another storm to kill one of us or our loved ones.


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