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DWSD receives thousands of flood damage claims, hopes to get crews to homes this week

Flooding in metro Detroit this weekend.
Courtesy of Dan Austin

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has received more than 24,000 claims of water damage from residents since the severe storms and floods that occurred on June 26.

5,400 of those claims are from households with senior citizens and those with disabilities. Those residents are eligible to have city crews come and clear debris from people's basements.

Another thousand residents are those who receive a poverty property tax exemption and are senior citizens, have children under ten, or have a disability. Those folks are eligible for more extensive cleanup from the city. The city expects to begin the cleanup process for these groups of people on Wednesday, July 14.

Bryan Peckinpaugh is the director of public relations for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. He said right now, the city is prioritizing cases based on the severity of the damage. That level is to be assessed by inspections by the city.

"And they will indicate if there’s mold, if there’s still sewage in the basement, if there’s other health and safety issues, and the contractors will be prioritized based on those inspections," he said.

Peckinpaugh said the rest of the cases will be prioritized based on the date of the claim. He said the city's timeline for this cleanup assistance is still very much in flux. The timeline is shorter for the 5,400 with disabilities and senior citizens who are only eligible for the debris removal.

"We hope to get to them in the next several weeks, and then prioritize based on severity. It’s going to take some time, but we did hire additional contractors as of last Friday to speed that up, because we want to get the flood damaged items out of their basement," he said.

He said the timeline for those with the poverty tax exemption will be longer, and probably won't be complete for the next couple of months, because there is a longer city inspection process that goes into assessing those homes.

Peckinpaugh said in the meantime, residents should ask their family and friends for help with debris cleanup until a city crew can come out to their home. He also said to save any receipts from cleaning up your home or having any repairs done. FEMA won't come and do repairs, but the agency could reimburse expenses incurred while doing flood damage cleanup, should President Joe Biden issue a declaration of disaster.

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Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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