Getting To the Bottom of the 2014 Flood Of Dearborn Heights The Who and The Why.

Two Dearborn Heights residents that I’m aware of have been working for months to get to the bottom of the cause of the 8-11-2014 flood of Dearborn Heights. Below are responses from these two Dearborn Heights residents to Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton.

Council Women Hicks-Clayton:

8/11 Flooding Event:

Here is the train of thought one must follow to get a residents perspective – the city and the county have known, officially that there was a HUGE – ELEVATED risk for at least 301 properties that are in the way of a “properly functional drain” (and in my opinion should never have been built).  The plan was delivered to the county and the city in December of 2008.  The county along with the city decided that they did not like the results (fixed drains don’t pay taxes) so the ACOE was brought in.  In 2011 the ACOE had a similar assessment with a few less properties affected.  Again the county and the city did not like the results so the “Implementation” phase of the ACOE was “de-funded” by the Federal Government. We had a second opinion with no implementation plan (2011 Executive Summary Only). So the only viable plan with a real implementation Plan was the 2008 Spice Group report.

With these facts and the fact that there are no pending lawsuits against the county by the city, as a resident affected, I can only conclude the city, like the county, is CULPABLE. They know about the situation and DID NOTHING TO FIX IT or CHALLENGE IT or MITIGATE IT. This is not guilt by association, it is guilt because of “in-action” or “un-effective” action, the former being the case. That is a paradigm of the 8/11/ 2014.

Now to the fix of the North Branch of the Ecorse Creek Drain Over Capacity Issue:

Yes overdevelopment is a County issue in which a CITY that cares about its residents, should be engaged in a lawsuit to force the county to take action, if they really were concerned about the situation of course.

To refute the mayors and commissioners claims that the resolution would be too costly, one has to look at just 2 of the recent multi 100’s of million dollar decisions by both the county and the city. The 250 million dollar budget for the jail and the newly acquired 180 million dollar loan from the State Revolving Fund, supported by the mayor (as the Chair of the JMC of the DSDS) for repairs that are not even needed at this time.

Note back in 2008 it was only 79 million for Phase 1.  If phase one would have been implemented, 8/11 is just another rain event in the life and times of the County and City.

To your point on effective communications.  We, primarily Suzanne and myself have discovered many truths and have stated them in many ways with additional questions that are not answered. Where is the call for the responsibility for timely, accurate responses to our questions to the city and county governments?  Once we get someone in the corner, they FOIA us. Effective communications are a 2 way street.  All we get from the governments are incomplete, miss directed, uninformed answers to our very relevant questions. Or re-directions, delays and un-kept promises.

With all due respect even your statement “The City of Dearborn Heights has applied for a FEMA grant for this purpose.”  to me,  is an attempt to show us that the city is doing something pro-active, when in fact it is all re-active.  This  FEMA program was disclosed at a FEMA meeting in which they told us about a FEMA program where by they provide up to certain percentage for Risk Mitigation after a declared disaster.  Also note that the grant monies would be far less then what is needed to implement phase one of the Spicer Group 2008 Greenway option.

Also on the communications front, if the City was that up to speed on FEMA Laws and programs we would have known all of the Tri and Quad Level homes in this city will have restricted coverage on their insurance because they are considered basements.  Where was this effective communications from the City? I guess the city is only responsible for “re-active” Communications?

So in closing I want to be sure that everyone knows that we the citizens, who are engaged, are attempting to have effective communications.  Frustrations come with the fact that the city and county don’t seem interested in honest, forthright, upfront communications. Or any accountability for all of the flooding events since 2008. We seek to have dialogue with the city and county but it no longer can just be empty promises and empty responses that we just swallow, hook, line and sinker!

Regards,

Troy Brown – South Dearborn Heights Resident.

Here is what Suzanne Todd Has to say,

 Hi Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton,

I really do appreciate all you do for this city. However, I need to make clear that what happened on August 11, 2014 might have been a “monumental disaster” and an” act of nature ” for the state of Michigan; however, what happened in south Dearborn Heights on August 11, 2014 was a “monumental “man-made disaster” and an “ act of man” (not nature) and happens quite often.  Why do you think information we have requested regarding drains has been ignored by Ken Kucel, our very county drain commissioner who is supposed to be on our side?
I am willing to bet that what Wade Trim engineers are going to say is something I have heard for the past 49 years.  I could almost give the explanation myself as I have heard it so many times before.
This talk about fixing the problem in our lifetime is “pie in the sky” because:
(1)   USACE 2011 Re-evaluation Report still needs to be completed.
(2)   They are waiting for the funding to be approved before they can even begin to complete the 2011 Re-evaluation Report that has been on hold for over five years now.  The longer the wait the more expensive the project becomes.
(3)   IF the funding is approved it will take the USACE at least 4-6 months to complete the re-evaluation study of 2011.
(4)  Once USACE completes the study this report has go out for a required “Independent External Peer Review” (IEPR), which is expected to take an additional 6 months. The IEPR is conducted by a major independent contractor that has been selected (by them) university professors in engineering and hydrologic science, read and comment on the report.

(5)  After the report is revised and the IEPR-approved, it is sent to DC for the USACE-HQ approval.

(6) Once approved by USACE , Congress then has to authorize the construction of the approved project, and has to appropriate the needed funding. Wayne County will have to come up with their 35% (yeah, like this is going to happen anytime soon knowing the condition the county finances are in) cost-share of construction to match the federal cost share of 65%.

(7)  If by some miracle Wayne County can come with their 35%, the final version of the project is then designed by the USACE and reviewed by Wayne County and the public. A construction schedule is then created and “notice for (construction) bids” is advertised at large.

It is difficult to say when all of this will happen, because much of the timing relies on Congress to expeditiously authorize construction through annual bills (laws), and when they might actually give the go-ahead funding, which is harder to get these days.(Wonderful, our congress works so well together).

So when the mayor says at council meetings that this looks promising, I just roll my eyes.
We can’t afford to wait any longer and another solution needs to be put on the table.  It is pretty evident to even a big disbeliever as myself that climate change is upon us and the problem will only get worse. I and many others feel the city is culpable for any damages and sickness that arise from the over flowing creek. While waiting for miracles to happen the city and council could have begun to insist that every city which uses the North Branch of the Ecorse Creek as their storm water and sewage dump cough up the funds to help fix the problem. From my understanding it is illegal for one city to dump its storm water on another city much less their sewage even if it is a county drain. Why did the city let this go on for so long?  The city has the obligation to fight for and protect its citizens instead of worrying about angering friends, party members and cohorts in these other cities and Wayne County.
Suzanne Todd
I thank both of you for all that you are doing and I hope that the meeting on March 17, 2015 is full of residents. #wedemandmore #flood2014
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1 thought on “Getting To the Bottom of the 2014 Flood Of Dearborn Heights The Who and The Why.”

  1. Thank you Kathy. I hope they have to open the annex to accommodate all the residents too. However, many of the old-timers are tired of all BS and have developed apathy and have passed this apathy to new residents. My dad and I fought this till he passed in 1984 and I picked up the gauntlet alone.

    Also the mayor in his email to me was very explicit in saying the meeting will be about the Ecorse Watershed and not about the August 11, 2015 flood.

    I remember our first flood. It was a rainy Christmas Eve 1965 and we had our whole family over in our basement. Imagine the surprise and disgust when the floor drains started spewing out sewer water. Many, many city wide flooding’s have passed since then and each one was progressively worse than the other.

    It is time that our mayor and city council start dealing with this problem head-on instead of blowing smoke up our noses about how “things look promising” per Mayor Paletko. Nothing is promising because Congress has to approve the money and Wayne County has to come up with 35% of the cost AFTER the Army Corp of Engineers can get funding to finish the study and it gets approved by an independent committee. I am sure south residents do not agree that things look promising. We have a very broke county and a congress that can’t get anything passed.

    I like Troy feel this city was culpable for what happened on August 11, 2014 (even before that most recent flooding) and remains culpable for the horrendous flooding that will come again because of their inaction. How can they just stand by and see their residents drowned by Taylor, Romulus, Inkster, Wayne County, M-DOT and several industrial sites that have been given permission to discharge their “stuff” into this little, shallow creek? Sure don’t need Wade Trim engineers telling us about the Ecorse Creek’s shortcomings- many in the south end have experienced it many times over.

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