(City of Berkley, Sept. 13, 2018)
Berkley, MI – The City of Berkley released the following press release on Wednesday, Sept. 13 in regard to recent flooding of basements:
“On September 7, the Berkley City Council, Water Resource Commissioner Jim Nash, and city and county staff met with approximately 200 residents at a Special City Council Meeting for a frank discussion on the August 28, 2017 rain event and city’s combined sewer system. Over the course of the three hour town hall style meeting, City Council received an update from staff who answered questions concerning the operation, maintenance and future of the city’s combined sewer system.
The special meeting was held just 10 days after extreme rains caused flash flooding in some streets and sewer backups in over 700 homes (roughly 10%). As expected, most of the attendees were Berkley residents who experienced flooding in their basement or streets. Earlier that week, the City Council moved the meeting to Berkley High School’s auditorium so that a larger number of residents could be heard. Staff provided an overview of how the system operates, presented updates on the storm response and outlined early estimates and sources of rainfall totals. City Council and staff also noted that, due to the short time that had elapsed since the storm, they were still working to answer some of the questions submitted by residents.
The largest question facing the City of Berkley concerns strategic investments that could be made in the combined sewer system to improve the level of service to the resident. According to City Manager Matthew Baumgarten, staff has recently completed a full cleaning, visual inspection, GIS mapping of all 57 miles of the sewer pipe and is now able to initiate a capacity analysis. In addition to public infrastructure improvements, ideas for individual homeowners were offered, such as rain barrels and gardens to divert storm water away from the sewer system and the installation of backflow preventers. City staff is exploring incentive programs to help residents purchase these items in an effort to encourage use in large numbers.
During the meeting, many residents noted the need for expanding the conversation outside of Berkley’s city limits and urged the City Council to work towards regional solutions. Exploratory discussions with Water Resource Commissioner’s office and neighboring cities may also result in specific actions the city may consider in preparing for future extreme weather events. The entire September 7th meeting can be viewed, on-demand, on the city’s YouTube channel by clicking here.
City Council made it clear that their work was ongoing and additional next steps would be offered during their September 18, 2017 meeting at City Hall, 3338 Coolidge. Residents who have not already done so are encouraged to inform the city if they experienced water in their basement by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org New information regarding this matter, and updates, will be posted on the city’s website, www.berkleymich.org/rainevent17 and social media channels.”
For more Berkley-related stories check out the Berkley News Page of Oakland County Times.