Grosse Pointe Woods DPW workers honored for preventing additional flooding during June storm

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 13, 2021


GROSSE POINTE WOODS — They do countless thankless tasks to keep the city operating and looking good, but the staff of the Department of Public Works is seldom recognized.

The Grosse Pointe Woods City Council decided to change that, however, acknowledging two DPW employees who city officials felt did exemplary work. During a meeting Oct. 4, the council honored DPW Crew Chiefs Edwin Hall and Matthew Crook with recognition awards for their work at the Torrey Road Pump Station during the powerful rainstorm that lasted from the night of June 25 into June 26.

City Administrator Bruce Smith said Hall and Crook worked roughly 17 hours straight, monitoring the pump station throughout the night to make sure all the pumps were operating properly.

“This was service above and beyond the call (of duty),” Smith said. “We wanted to recognize those two guys for keeping the pump station up and running and keeping the city in (as best shape) as possible.”

Heavy rain during that period led to widespread flooding and basement backups throughout the Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods, Detroit and elsewhere, even leading to a federal disaster declaration. In the Grosse Pointe Park area, the rain total was around 7 inches.

Although some Woods property owners did experience flooding or backups in their basements, Mayor Art Bryant said the efforts of Hall and Crook “kept those numbers much lower” than they were in neighboring cities.

“The guys at the pump station did a marvelous job,” Bryant said. “They went above and beyond, and helped keep additional problems from happening.”

Bryant said that, unlike communities such as Grosse Pointe City, Grosse Pointe Park and Grosse Pointe Farms, the Woods wasn’t impacted by power problems at the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Conner Creek and Freud pump stations. The Torrey Road station pumps to the Milk River pump station, which then sends the water to pump stations in Detroit for treatment, Bryant said. If there’s too much rain, they have an overflow tank to hold the water and “super-bleach it,” at which point Bryant said it can be dumped into Lake St. Clair. It may not be an ideal solution, but Bryant said it’s “better (to dump it) in the lake than in basements.”

“You have represented the City of Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Works in the highest tradition, and we are proud and honored to have you as an outstanding member of our City’s team,” the recognition certificates to both honorees read, in part.

City officials said the certificates will be added to the personnel files of Hall and Crook.

“They keep this city looking tiptop,” Smith said of the DPW. “Our public service workers are just an outstanding group of people.”