Storm and Heavy Rainfall Tips
Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in Berkley can be a stressful experience for us all. We as a City are taking steps to limit and mitigate basement backups as much as possible.
What Has the City Done to Mitigate Basement Backups during Rain Events?
- The City proactively maintains its sewer system, investing up to $350,000 per year on sewer structural lining, and the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) regularly cleans, inspects, and monitors sewer line conditions to ensure optimal functionality. To date, the lining has been completed annually for over 20 years with approximately 35% of the system structurally lined.
- Additional restrictor covers have been installed in many of the City's catch basins (not including those installed prior to 2014) to regulate the amount of stormwater flow entering the sewer system (this includes public and private catch basins).
- Stormwater detention systems for new commercial developments.
- Earlier downspout disconnection programs.
About Berkley’s Sewer System
Berkley has a combined sewer system which means it uses a single pipe to collect both stormwater (rain) and sanitary (waste) water. The sewer system collects storm and rainwater from the street, as well as, wastewater flows from homes and flows into the County’s system at specific collection points located throughout Berkley.
Berkley streets are designed to hold water to delay its entry into the sewer system during heavy rains. There are no control mechanisms in the City’s sewer system. The City’s system is entirely gravity-based with no pumps or valves, meaning there are no switches, valves, pumps, levers, or buttons that need to be pushed to move water out of Berkley. This delayed entry of stormwater into the system also mitigates system backups.
Wondering How to Protect Yourself from Basement Flooding?
- Here are some steps you can take as a homeowner: Protect Your Home from Flooding (provided by FEMA).
- Oakland County's Water Resource Commission also has a helpful resource document on understanding your sewer pipe vs the public sewer pipe, tips to minimize risks, and Michigan's law when filing a claim.
Help Us Gather Data
If you have experienced any basement flooding, residents are encouraged to contact Public Works at 248-658-3490 and/or report a claim using the Sewer Backup Claims Form.
Sewer Backup Claim Information
In January 2002, a new Michigan law on municipal liability for basement flooding went into effect. Public Act 222 of 2001 requires claimants seeking compensation for physical injury or property damage as a result of a sewer-disposal or storm-water-system event. Current Michigan Law Public Act 170 of 1964, as amended by Public Act 222 of 2001, requires that persons seeking compensation for injury or property damage must show that all of the following existed at the time of the event:
- The City of Berkley at the time of the event owned or operated, or directly or indirectly discharged into, the portion of the sewage disposal system that allegedly caused damage or injury.
- The sewer disposal system of the City of Berkley has a construction, design, maintenance, operation, or repair defect.
- The City of Berkley knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, about the defect and failed to take reasonable steps in a reasonable amount of time to repair, correct, or remedy the defect.
- The defect must be 50% or more of the cause of the event and the damage or injury.
Claimants must comply with statutory notice requirements. A claimant who has been injured or has suffered property damage as a result of a sewage-disposal-system event must provide written notice of the event within 45 days after the date the damage or physical injury was discovered. The written notice must contain the claimant's name, address, telephone number, the address of the affected property, the date of discovery of any property damage or physical injury, and a brief description of the claim. Failure to provide proper notice may bar the claim.
For additional information and forms, please download the Sewer Backup Claim Information.
The above summarizes Public Act 222, which should be consulted for a full description of a claimant's rights and duties. To review or download the law, go to www.michiganlegislature.org (then click “Public Acts”, then fill in the blanks with “222” and “2001” in the Public Act search).