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Grosse Pointe Woods was prepared for last weekend’s rain, ice

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 14, 2020


GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Works was prepared for the rainfall and ice in metro Detroit Jan. 11-12.

As local meteorologists alerted residents of impending weather conditions, Department of Public Works Director Frank Schulte was ready.

“We were planning on it,” Schulte said. “Our equipment was gassed up and ready to go. Crews were on standby.”

On Jan. 11, Schulte said, the city received 3 inches of rain, including 2 inches that fell in a short period of time. Eight employees were dispatched to various catch basins to clean debris from them to prevent any water backups and flooding issues. A catch basin is a curbside drain that collects rainwater from properties and streets and transports it.

“The holes get covered with debris. Most of our covers have four or six holes, and there’s only so much capacity in the system,” Schulte said. “That slows down the water. By 4 o’clock, our streets were clean.”

On Jan. 12, the streets were salted as snow and ice fell. The rainfall in Grosse Pointe Woods does not flow into Lake St. Clair, but into sanitary sewers.

“We can’t separate our sewers,” Schulte said. “We don’t have a point of contact to continue to Lake St. Clair. All of our street water basically flows into sanitary sewers.”

On Jan. 13, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, distributed a press release stating that the Great Lakes — Huron, Superior, Erie, Michigan and Ontario — are continuing to experience higher-than-normal water levels. The press release included several safety tips.

“Many accidents and incidents near harbor structures occur during the turbulent weather seasons of fall and winter, but higher-than-normal water levels pose safety threats year-round. Strong winds, storms and high water levels can bring powerful impacts to the shoreline and harbor structures,” the press release states. “High water levels create safety hazards, such as submerged breakwaters, dangerous rip currents and electric shock risks.”