Detroit Water & Sewerage Department prepares for potential flooding; urges residents to follow tips to reduce impact

Apr 30th, 2020

Alex Derdelakos

DETROIT – The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has crews in the neighborhoods today and throughout the week cleaning catch basins (storm drains) and sewer lines to help reduce potential flooding from the forecasted heavy rain over the next two days. DWSD encourages residents and businesses to follow recommended flooding tips and to keep debris and objects away from catch basins and sewer drains, doing so safely given the COVID-19 pandemic.

DWSD’s sewer trucks and crews are already deployed cleaning catch basins in advance and responding to street flooding caused by blocked catch basins. DWSD needs the public’s assistance. Clear the catch basins in front of your house or business, and help your neighbors do the same while maintaining the social distancing. Catch basins carry stormwater off city streets and nearby properties into the city’s combined sewer system.

Since DWSD launched its catch basin inspection and cleaning program, including purchasing new equipment and hiring additional staff in 2017, crews have inspected and cleaned 27,775 storm drains. The goal is 30,000 by August 2020.

Everyday Tips from DWSD:
DWSD offers the following everyday tips to reduce a potential sewer or drain backup.

Flooding Tips:
DWSD offers the following wet weather tips.

Basement Backups
If you experience a basement backup, be cautious, take photos and if there is damage, file the proper claim within 45 days of the incident. Basement backups can occur for many reasons including a clogged private sewer line, basement wall cracks, tiling issues, storm line cracks, or other private infrastructure, and at times due to the demand on the public sewer system. Property owners are responsible for the sewer infrastructure on their parcels, including the sewer line from the structure all the way to the connection at the city’s sewer pipe, while DWSD is responsible for the city’s sewer collection system (see image below).

The Great Lakes Water Authority is monitoring and staffing its pumping stations and wet weather treatment facilities throughout the next few days and following the rain event.

Report street flooding by using the “Improve Detroit” SeeClickFix mobile app for Apple and Android devices, through Facebook messaging at or call 313-267-8000.