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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan seeks aid for floods from federal government, advises residents on cleanup

Russell McNamara

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is appealing to the federal government for emergency assistance after the city’s flooding this week.

Part of that includes meeting with President Joe Biden directly; Duggan says he’ll go to Traverse City this weekend to speak with the president.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer submitted a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Wednesday, June 30, in a plea to help cover the cost of repairs. Duggan followed that up saying FEMA will be on the ground soon.

“FEMA will be on the ground here next Thursday of next week," Duggan said. "This is record speed. Certainly, much faster than we saw in 2014. [However], we have to provide materials. Every city being affected has to put together a summary of the impact and the governor has to assemble all of it before the FEMA team can issue their recommendation.”

Thousands are still cleaning up and evaluating the damage from the heavy rains this week, which has affected large areas of Detroit, Dearborn, and other parts of Wayne County.

Duggan says the public works department has nearly tripled its cleanup crews to help clear debris. He says residents should keep photo records of their damage and cleaning repairs to back up their claims.

Duggan also warned that some neighborhoods have been hit by scammers posing as city employees. He says staff with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and affiliated volunteers have marked clothing, vehicles, and badges. Concerned residents should call the utility before allowing suspected workers in their homes.

The cause of the flooding is still being reviewed, but some want answers from the Great Lakes Water Authority now.

Officials say the Conner Creek pumping station near the Detroit River was down for two hours as the region saw more than six inches of rainfall.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says the issue caused wastewater to back-up into places like St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe. She’s asking the Great Lakes Water Authority if the outage was due to a lack of staffing in Detroit. Mayor Duggan says the city wants answers, too.

“I agree that it should be investigated," Duggan said. "But that means Macomb needs to investigate themselves, too.”

Detroit officials say the city’s water distribution systems were working as designed last weekend. They say Detroit is no longer responsible for the pumping plants, which were regionalized as part of the city’s exit from bankruptcy.