City Council Statement on Flooding

City Council Statement
City of Grosse Pointe
July 11, 2021

Our hearts go out to all of the people impacted by the flooding and basement backups. The widespread damage to homes and businesses has hurt not only many of us in the City of Grosse Pointe but throughout the Eastside. Just as we did during the pandemic, our community came together to help our friends and neighbors. We are proud of our residents and our City staff — in particular our Department of Public Works — for an incredible display of teamwork, patience and fortitude as we all work to recover from this devastating event. 

As your elected City Council, we pledge to work together to take steps to help further address the flooding that has now hit our community twice in five years. This includes:

  • Making sure the current stormwater system works. The June 26 storm demonstrated how dependent municipal stormwater systems are on the regional system. Unfortunately, the region's Great Lakes Water Authority did not get the stormwater out and into the Detroit River at two Eastside facilities as designed because of pump and power outages. Our Council and city staff have requested that GLWA establish an independent review of the June 26 flood response. Locally, we will continue to monitor the City’s 80-100 year old stormwater pipes and will increase those efforts to ensure that we repair or replace as necessary.
  • Keep stormwater out of the system. This type of extreme volatility in weather conditions can no longer be considered unusual. Lake St. Clair has gone from record low water levels to record highs in record time. The June 26 storm dumped an enormous amount of rainfall in a short period that far exceeded the amount of water the region’s infrastructure was designed to handle. Part of the solution is to keep stormwater from overwhelming the infrastructure by disconnecting roof downspouts from underground pipes, incorporating permeable infrastructure to absorb rainfall and promoting the use of rain gardens and rain barrels. City Council has already taken steps toward this goal by modifying the designs of our new buildings where possible. We also recently adopted a Mack Avenue Corridor Improvement Plan that calls for permeable green infrastructure. We are committed to looking for additional ways to reduce the burden on the stormwater system as opportunities arise.
  • Examine system capacity improvements. As a region, we have to work collaboratively to determine what changes need to be made to the current stormwater system to handle the unprecedented type of weather we have been experiencing. New investments in system design and capacity must be made on a regional level. In Grosse Pointe City, we will task engineers with assessing what additional steps we can take here to effectively deal with these types of rain events, which we must assume will continue to increase in severity and frequency. We will examine all options, such as exploring the feasibility of creating a large underground stormwater reservoir adjacent to the City's Neff Road pump station at Charlevoix.
  • Advocate for supportive state and federal policies. The state and federal governments have a large role to play in supporting regional and local stormwater initiatives. Resources should be targeted to preserve and rebuild aging water, sewer and road infrastructure. We will advocate for water and sewer initiatives at the state and federal level that complement our community's strategies.
  • Advocate for our residents. As a Council, we have and will continue to lobby the federal, state and county governments to help secure any disaster aid that might be available for our residents. We will also explore every option available to reimburse the City for the enormous cost of cleanup. 

We invite all of our residents to stay informed about these efforts via the City’s website and its email updates. If you’re not currently receiving City email updates, please register via the City’s website www.grossepointecity.org. We also encourage residents to sign up for Nixle alerts at www.nixle.com for emergency notifications.


Respectfully submitted,

Members of the Grosse Pointe City Council
Mayor: Sheila Tomkowiak
Council Members: Maureen Juip, Don Parthum, John Stempfle, Terence Thomas, Chris Walsh, Dan Williams