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Detroit residents can now apply for program to reduce flooding in basements


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a plan Monday that he said would protect homeowners in flood-prone neighborhoods from basement flooding.

City officials called it the Basement Backup Protection Program. The program would use up to $15 million from the city's American Rescue Plan Act funding, Duggan said during a Monday press conference.

The money will allow homeowners in 11 neighborhoods prone to flooding to apply for the program. Eligible homeowners will then be allowed to use up to $6,000 to install a backwater valve and a sump pump at their home.

Duggan said flooding that used to be rare in Detroit is now becoming more common. "We know what the pattern is," he said. "Even though we have what is supposed to be a once in a hundred year storm, it’s becoming clear to us that with climate change, we can’t tell you it’s not going to happen again and again."

The first two neighborhoods to pilot the program will be Aviation Sub and Victoria Park, two communities that were hit hardest during summer storms last year, officials said.

In the summer, the program will be open to nine other neighborhoods: Barton-McFarland, Chadsey Condon, Cornerstone Village, East English Village, Garden View, Jefferson Chalmers, Morningside, Moross-Morang and Warrendale.

Those neighborhoods were chosen based on service requests for basement backups, officials said.

Gary Brown, the Detroit water and sewer director, encouraged residents to apply now so the plumbers can estimate how many people are interested in the project.

Owners of single-family homes and duplexes are eligible, but the program is not open to commercial businesses.

Approved homeowners will have to pay a 10% deposit of the total cost before a plumber can begin. The deposit can be waived if the homeowner qualifies for the Water Residential Assistance Program.

Approved landlords will have to pay a 20% deposit.

Residents can apply for the program by submitting an online application form at www.detroitmi.gov/basementprotection.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.