August 2017 Rain Event
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 this page and social media channels.
September 7, 2017 - Special City Council Meeting
Rain Event FAQS
Maps (ALL of the maps are up to date as of September 7, 2017)
Berkley - Combined Sewer
Berkley - Sewer Lining
Berkley - Homes Reporting Water in Basement (after August 28th rain event)
August 28th, 2017 Rain Event
On August 28, 2017, the City of Berkley and the southeastern region of Oakland County experienced extreme rain and flash flooding. According to local sources, approximately two inches of rain fell in roughly a two hour timeframe. We typically see this amount of rainfall over a four week period.
Department of Public Works crews are working to make sure that streets are passable, removing debris from the right-of-way. Restricted covers are in place on many catch basins to regulate the water flow into our combined sewer system. Please do not remove or dislodge these covers as it may cause additional issues for our system.
Our initial analysis indicates that the sewer system performed as it was designed, but may have been overwhelmed by massive rain amounts over a short period of time. We are investigating this matter further and need assistance from residents to determine how many households experienced damage from basement flooding or backups. This will help us understand the full extent to which residents were impacted.
Residents are respectfully asked to provide the address where the damage occurred and the approximate amount of water that entered their basement. Please send this information to email@example.com. We know this may be an inconvenience for some but this is the most efficient way to obtain this information. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.
Public Act 222 of 2001 is the Michigan law that clarifies the conditions of when municipalities become liable for sewer backups. Anyone making a claim for damage or personal injury must prove that the public sewer had a defect. To pursue a claim against a governmental agency for damage resulting from basement flooding, the claimant must file a written notice of the claim to the agency within 45 days of the date that the damage was discovered. Claim forms are available by clicking here. Hard copies are also available at Berkley City Hall. Claims will be submitted to the City’s insurance company for disposition. The insurance company will contact claimants directly. Homeowners who experienced flooding or backups should also contact their insurance company immediately for assistance and direction.
Updates to the rain event will be posted on the City’s website as new information becomes available. Thank you for your patience as we continue to provide services to Berkley residents.