By Charles Sercombe
If you haven’t filed a damage form for last week’s flood with the city yet, there is still time to do so.
State, county and city officials are urging residents from all over the metro area to file damage reports for a couple of reasons.
The county needs the information to determine how extensive the damage is and to apply for possible federal assistance to repair infrastructure and pay for emergency repairs.
Recently, Gov. Snyder has encouraged residents to document their losses and damages for – again – possible federal financial assistance. At the time The Review went to press on Thursday, that was still up in the air.
So far, about 300 Hamtramck households have submitted damage claims to the city. It is unknown how many dwellings were flooded, but judging from past floods, it’s likely just about every house. That’s about 7,000 dwellings.
Last Monday’s flood was the result of an extremely hard rain that lasted about four hours. It’s estimated that 4-1/2 inches of rain fell. Flooding in the streets occurred almost immediately.
Since Hamtramck has been prone to flooding after heavy rainstorms, most residents know better than to store valuables in the basement, or at the very least store them on shelving at least a few feet above the basement floor.
Still, many saw their washers and dryers get at least partially submerged, and their hot water heaters as well.
In the suburbs, especially in Warren, residents were caught off guard. Many households with finished basements lost a lot of furniture and other items.
The trash piles were enormous around the suburbs, and many cities are still trying to catch up with clearing the debris left on the curbs for pick-up. In Oak Park, another heavily flooded suburb, the city has already spent $100,000 to collect household items thrown out.
Hamtramck had one special garbage pick-up last Saturday. It was not immediately known how much that extra collection will cost the city.
Can flooding ever be avoided?
The answer to that thorny question is maybe. A flood like last week’s was a fluke of nature, and it’s possible that no city could handle that amount of rainfall in such a short time.
But Hamtramck has had a unique problem with flooding for many decades because the city’s sewer and rain water run-off system is woefully inadequate. The city, however, is poised to begin repairs and connect to a much larger sewer line on Conant.
The cost, however, will be upwards of $40 million to complete the project. The city is seeking a state loan and grants to begin the first phase of the project.