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Posted on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Flooding in Ann Arbor: 'We're kind of paying for the sins of our fathers'

By Ryan J. Stanton

Although the rains that inundated Ann Arbor Thursday were quite heavy, possibly qualifying as a 50-year storm event, the flooding that ensued was not a new phenomenon in the city.

Flooding problems in Ann Arbor trace back many years, and they'll take many years to address, said Evan Pratt, Washtenaw County's water resources commissioner.

"It took us 100 years to create these problems, and they're not going to go away in two years," he said on Friday. "These are things you have to chip away at, and you have to eat the elephant one bite at a time."

Pratt said Ann Arbor's storm drainage system wasn't designed to handle the kinds of major storms the city is witnessing with increased intensity in recent years.


Students took to kayaking in the street during Thursday's flood in Ann Arbor.

Courtesy of Judy Ramos

"Most of the city was built before stormwater was handled or managed," he said. "What we're finding is the places where we've got flooding problems, the vast majority of them don't have much, if any, detention/storage, so whatever hits the ground ends up having an impact on people."

Unfortunately, Pratt said, it's difficult to try to retrofit stormwater storage into areas that were built out decades ago without stormwater in mind.

In a way, he said, "We're kind of paying for the sins of our fathers."

Matt Kulhanek, who was the city's acting public services administrator on Friday, said parts of the city saw up to 2.5 inches of rain during the storm that rolled through Thursday.

City crews were out Friday morning addressing gravel roads that were eroded, and working with residents on seven reported cases of sewage backups.

Kulhanek said some manhole covers also were displaced during the storm, but those had been replaced and secured, and all traffic signals were functional.

Matt Warba, the city's interim field operations manager, said two of the sanitary sewer backups reported to the city as of Friday morning were on South Forest, two were on Oakwood, one was on Whitewood, one was on South Main and one was on East University.

Mayor John Hieftje noted the backups weren't in some of the other areas of the city that have been affected in the past.

"The other thing we know is the rain was intense in some small areas, and maybe not in others, and most of it came down within a half hour, which was interesting," he said. "It looks like in some parts of the city it was what's called a 25-year storm, and maybe even more in others."

University of Michigan weather observer Dennis Kahlbaum said Friday his calculations indicated the storms were "approximately a 50-year event, with some areas approaching a 100-year event." A 50-year event is one that has a 1 in 50 chance of happening in a calendar year.

Jennifer Lawson, the city's water quality manager, said residents are encouraged to contact the city about basement flooding and storm damage. She said residents' observations, including photos and videos, are helpful to the city to understand stormwater behavior in different areas.

Residents can email photos or video to

The city of Ann Arbor, in close cooperation with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's Office, has multiple efforts underway that involve taking a close look at the city's stormwater and sanitary sewer systems and related flooding problems.


Flooding in the First and William parking lot in downtown Ann Arbor on Thursday

Courtesy of Celia Haven

That includes a two-year study that involves monitoring and evaluating stormwater behavior throughout the city.

The study includes intensive data gathering to fine-tune or calibrate the city's existing stormwater model, which will be used to develop recommendations for improving the city's stormwater system.

"The stormwater system we have in Ann Arbor was put in before the Korean War," Lawson said, noting design requirements were different back then.

"We have a lot of pipe that either needs to be changed, rebuilt or improved, and this model project is the first step in that process of really building the science behind our stormwater management system so we can make sound decisions on future improvements to the stormwater system."

Lawson said the city's engineers are constantly looking for innovative techniques for managing stormwater, but the city's philosophy remains that larger pipes are not necessarily the best solution, because all they do is push the water downstream.

In looking at the actual inlets into the storm sewer system, Lawson said, there are areas where there maybe aren't enough inlets or there are inlets that are clogged.

The city is looking at possibly adding new inlets in some areas, and modifying street sweeping and catch basin maintenance programs to combat clogging.

"And as we move forward with any capital improvement projects, we do require stormwater management as a part of these road projects," Lawson said. "Before, oftentimes roads were put in without stormwater detention or stormwater infiltration."


The scene on Clark Road on Thursday.

Reader photo

Pratt said the city is doing a good job of incorporating stormwater management into major street reconstruction projects.

He pointed to the ongoing reconstruction of Fourth Avenue downtown, which includes the installation of a stormwater management system that will allow rain to collect in a stone reservoir located under the street surface and infiltrate back into the ground, thereby removing flow from the city's storm sewer system. Water essentially will hit the pavement, flow to the curb, find its way into the nearest catch basin, and then follow a pipe with holes in it and drain into the bed beneath the road.

"Conceptually they're soaking the water into the ground rather than sending it into a pipe," Pratt said. "And they're soaking the water into the ground while they're using traditional pavement."

The city also has plans for major stormwater improvements when it reconstructs Madison Street this summer, replacing the existing composite pavement (asphalt over concrete) with a new full depth section comprised of sand, stone and asphalt layers. The design uses infiltration and detention techniques such as bio-retention (rain gardens) and perforated/upsized storm sewer pipe to achieve improved stormwater quality and reduced flows into the Allen Creek.

Pratt said he also wants to see heightened stormwater standards for new development that reflect the increasing intensity of storms.

His office is working to change its own standards to require ground infiltration for at least the first inch of rain that falls — thinking the more rain that can soak into the ground, the better.

Pratt said he hopes to see more development like the apartment complex that's been approved for 618 S. Main St., the former Fox Tent & Awning property.

Stormwater detention for a 100-year flood is proposed there, with three rain garden/bio-retention areas on the west side of the site. The project increases the property's drainage surface by more than 18,000 square feet, which will be used for stormwater infiltration.

Pratt noted the site is designed so that no stormwater will be discharged into the city's storm sewer system — an improvement over the current system that sends the water into the storm drain for the Allen Creek, which drains out to the Huron River.


Evan Pratt

"The city is trying to do their part, and we're trying to work with the city to up the development standards and require soaking it into the ground," Pratt said. "Somebody taught me a long time ago, there will always be a bigger storm — no matter what you design, build or think up. If you build a bigger pipe, there will always be a bigger storm."

Pratt's office recently beta-tested an online flood-reporting application to allow people to use their mobile devices or computers to quickly report flooding problems.

The app is up and running, and can be found here, but it's still being fine-tuned.

The app asks people to enter their name and contact information, time and date of flooding, and description of the flooding. It also allows for uploading photos.

"It was a pretty wet night," Pratt said, summing up Thursday's storm. "I haven't gone back and looked at it, but before that 6 o'clock second burst hit, we already were seeing rain gauges pushing something equivalent to a 50-year storm.

He added, "We are having more intense storms more frequently."

Pratt said progress is being made on possible solutions for the flooding problems around Lansdowne and there will be a public meeting in August to discuss the benefits of different options.

He noted a complete reconstruction of Scio Church Road from Main Street to east of Seventh Street already is planned for 2015 and is expected to include major stormwater management upgrades that will reduce the amount of water that moves over the road into the neighborhood.

That's on a new list of 20 projects related to water quality in the Huron River watershed that Pratt's office is trying to get state funding for right now.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

From Sabra Briere's newsletter over the weekend: "I've spent much of the day thinking about water – and maybe you have, as well. During Thursday's rainstorm, I was trying to get to a meeting across town. Everywhere I turned, I ran into deep water that I worried my little car wouldn't be able to cross. When visibility failed, I pulled into a parking lot to wait out the heaviest downpour. And yesterday I went to look at Traver Creek, which runs near my home; it has decided to cut a new route – through an adjacent park. I watched a blue heron look for fish in this new, shallow water, and admired the reflection of the playground in the water. "Short, flashy, heavy rains don't quite make it to a '100 year rain,' which is what we ask new developments to handle. That's a rain where about 4 ½ inches falls in a day, and Thursday's was about 2 ½ inches in about four hours. Our 70-year-old infrastructure cannot handle a lot of water in a short period of time. And what type of infrastructure can we retrofit to handle these types of rains?"


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

I guess no one remembers the summer of 1967 when the Brookside Apartments first floors all flooded, due to the rain that week and the lovely babbling brook that ran between the buildings? Back then Plymouth Road was at a higher elevation and the water ran down into that nice little brook. It was after that the large culvert was put in and the brook disappeared, to be covered in asphalt. I wondered how they did in this last rainfall?


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

Doing a little research on Allen Creek. Please refer to .. This may tell a story that everyone should know about Ann Arbor and Allen Creek. After reading this I have come to the conclusion that Ann Arbor should answer to the rest of Washtenaw County for overloading a county drain. The county maintains the main portion of this drain system, while the city of Ann Arbor continues to knowing rout water run off into a drain that is not capable of handling flood waters. Today's city management should hide their faces when they make comments about our fathers. To tell the people of Ann Arbor false statement concerning water run off. The truth of course is that prior and current management have continued to knowing permit construction that artificially diverts water runoff into this county drain system. I am sure that if a study was performed to see how much area can be controlled by this single storm drain it would be adequate for the size of Ann Arbors in 1960, nearly 40 years after the drain was installed. Now today the county is paying for Ann Arbors near sidedness.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Well, AA may have flooding problems but it does have great art!


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Row, row, row yer boat......


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

Some readers have referenced the City/County/Consultants West Park Project. Of the multiple things done wrong there, one thing was to put an approximately 42 inch high concrete wall "in line" ( in the middle of the 54 inch pipe) that contains one of the branches of Allen's Creek with some 36 million square feet of developed land upstream. Results were disastrous. It was also wrong to reference global warming in the aftermath as some sort of excuse - if we are indeed getting more intense rains per unit of time - all the more reason not to build obstructions to pipe flow. Also upstream from West Park is a condition where the pipe goes from 72 inches down to 48 inches (at Doty Street) as it moves TOWARD the Huron River. As we all know, pipes should get BIGGER as more and more water is contributed from more and more tributary land area going downstream. This pipe does the opposite. It was also wrong to insinuate to the interested public that the pipe was larger because it is corrugated -thus more surface resistance. If you take a forensic camera to that corrugated pipe - you will see that the corrugations are infilled with bitumen. The 48 inch pipe was built when green cow pastures were upstream - it sufficed at that time-it needed to carry less flow. The 72 inch pipe was was built later, when they were forced to confront the fact of greater impervious surfaces -for the tributary area being served by new pipe. Governmental entities and their agents need to be straight-forward and honest with the taxpaying public. One of multiple things they got right with West Park was to take some 11 acres of tributary land and have the runoff from that land go to floodplain storage areas in the park, which is allowing a floodplain to do what a floodplain was meant to do.

You Don't Say

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

I do not know of many city drainage systems that can handle 2 - 2.5 inches of rainfall in such a short period of time with out flooding. This was a 50 year event. That being said you gotta love the excuses put out by city officials. As someone who grew up in Ann Arbor I am used to lame duck city government not addressing problems until they absolutely have to. City officials seem to think its still the 1940's and Ann Arbor is this quaint little town with a population a quarter of the size it is now. The cities infrastructure is slowly collapsing around its population. Roads are crumbling, city services like mowing common areas, park maintenance and street lights is almost non-existant, schools are closing the swimming pools in some of the middle schools, minimal police and fire personnel and the list could on. So with all of this happening the city continues to expand and develop and add more traffic and congestion to a road system never designed to handle the volume of traffic it does (sound familier like a drainage system problem)? It took dozens of city officials over 40 years to figure out the stadium blvd overpass needed replacement because it was falling apart and not high enough for some trucks to pass under. How about the wonderful roundabout some Einstein has said will resolve the State Street and Ellsworth road congestion? Did city officials just now figure out that intersection was a concern? And while they are detouring Ellsworth road traffic have they paid attention to Morgan Road? A dirt road whose traffic volume has at least quadrupled since Ellsworth's closure and has potholes galore? Nope. Probably because they are used to the potholes on city streets (sorry about the sarcasm). So what is the answer? Find ways to increase city revenues. Create a 15-20 cent city tax on every purchase to start. Create a city income tax. Start charging the U millions for use of the roads. They can afford it.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

All statements are true that you mention. But, to start charging the "U" is impossible. The added cost of actually paying for services would collapse the financial system that they currently have, creating a tuition that even the wealthiest could not afford to pay. The rent in the area would quadruple to assist in these payments. These costs could assist in a vacate from the city, possibly creating a ghost town. This; leaving buildings empty and abandoned. The need to remove blithe areas within the city, replacing these areas with porous ground covered by plant growth. These changes would create proper water flow and drainage in the city making it unnecessary for any changes to the current retention or drainage. This would of course make this article outdated and obsolete... Not worthy of any history written about Ann Arbor, therefore all is forgotten.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Its better to have an Art fund that is well funded than protecting property owners of floods. You just dont get it.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 9:27 a.m.

they should have left allen creek above ground.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 3:30 a.m.

I am so sorry to hear about the people affected by the flooding in Ann Arbor. In Dexter, we have had the same amount of rain, but no neighborhood or business flooding. Mill Creek was high...but that was about it. Please let us know, if anyone in A2 needs help with the clean-up. has my info. Take care.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:44 a.m.

The orangeburg tile issue is the most overlooked part of the flooding problem. I have had a direct experience with this. The city approved the use of tar impregnated cardboard sewer pipes to connect the home sewers (blackwater) to the street lines. When these collapse or are roto-rooted, they leak. This allows the storm drain water to enter the sewer line via underground penetration. Anybody with a collapsed front sidewalk can tell you what has happened. This can cause a basement to be flooded with sewage and also completely defeats the notion of separate storm and sewage water lines. Its an old story, but no one seems to want to open the book on this. The News did a story on my situation way back in the 1980s. The City escaped liability because the State approved the material for drain use. Just Google "Orangeburg drain tile" .

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 10:02 a.m.



Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

Flooding problems are easily resolved. Just put up a mixed use development wherever there is standing water after a heavy rain. Doesn't anyone in A2 pay attention? Mixed use development cures every problem.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

Soooo....what happened to a sump pump in every Ann Arbor basement that was supposed to divert rain water from the sewer system into the storm water system?. I have one even though I've never had a flooding problem. And talking about "sins of our forefathers", how about the rampant use of orange berg (spelling?) sewer pipe in the 1960s that is basically a cardboard tube that collapses over time and has to be replaced at $10 thousand plus???


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

Slowly open up Allen creek, and let west park become a catch basin. At least it wiill alleviate a long term problem

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

Carp link for reference:


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Yep, the 20-lb. carp ought to love that....


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

What defines a rain forest is annual rainfall of at least 160 inches. Reports are rain fell here at the rate of 120 inches A DAY. A sewer system capable of handling such a rare event would be like a 52-lane superhighway into downtown Ann Arbor, set up for traffic from a football game that will only be played once in your lifetime.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Rain garden equals mosquito nursery. It only takes 7 days for the mosquito larvey to mature in a cup of water. I change the water in the bird bath every five days. Any standing water should be spilled to destroy the nursery. Sins of our Fathers???? I thought we hired city engineers that were solving the flooding problems. Did we or did we not? The rain fall was way too strong for any retention pond. The parking lots made good ones amd sp dod Clark Rd. People in the neighborhoods could check the drains for clogging. There is no way a few city workers can do that.

Jojo B

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

Perhaps adding bike lanes to the continually-flooded areas would be a good solution?


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

So, we add a "BIKE lane to a low lying flood area eliminating parts of the current low water retention area that we have. This would divert waters to the next lower plateau. Bringing the hazard to an adjoining plot of land, causing a potential destruction of land erosion in a slightly different area. But, I do like that you are thinking about solutions.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 9:57 a.m.

+permeable at that also no kayak zone.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

I like this solution!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

In the contest between water and stone, over time, water wins.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

Easily solvable: 1) Elect a Democratic governor 2) Maintain a democratic majority in State Legislature 3) Have governor propose, and legislature pass, a "rain tax" that charges $85 to every homeowner, $170 per farm and up to 20% of the property tax yearly for businesses to control run off. Happening right now in Maryland (by the way, their Governor wants to be your next President - wish him well).


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

I thought the Governor was from Ann Arbor...Well Born in Battle Creek but lives in Ann Arbor. These stingy republicans wanting to cut taxes to the wealthy, raise taxes on the elderly, Bring in out of state business at the cost of Michigan's middle class. ( At least we may get some jobs) Vs.. the Democrats robbing from the middle class, giving everything to those that refuse to work to attain security. Taxing everybody for everything, over employing unionized positions, creating pensions guarantees that will be require bankruptcy before current employees are eligible to retire. When do we get someone in office that will be able to look into the future a few years to see what can be done? To make decisions based on financial responsibilities? OOPS, off target, guess I am trying to say the Dems will do nothing to correct the problems in Ann Arbor without creating an employment issue by over taxing business. The repubs, will tax the homeowners and non business people to correct he issues. SORRY NO SOLUTION FOR ANN ARBOR


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

You nailed it Jay.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

So with a democrat city government and democrat county government this naturally becomes a state problem requiring state taxes. Of course if Granholm was still in office then it would have become a federal problem and the blame resting squarely on George Bush.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

Well, what do you want to happen? Are you OK with the situation as it stands, or do you feel nothing needs to be done?

Rork Kuick

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

Sending water into pipes toward the river (as quickly as possible) worked fine when our footprint was small, but with neighborhoods now occupying square miles, the flashiness of Allen and Mallets creeks have become ghastly and a disgrace to the city. Bigger pipes allows continued or increased insult to the river. Malletts went from 20 to about 600 cfs. Not sure I trust the readings from Allen for that day (compare it to how much the River went up just downstream). Better detention and retention, even high on the watersheds, will help reduce flooding, and be much better for the river, and downstream people and organisms who would like to use this water. I applaud moves in that direction, as well as folks doing small things on their own properties to slow that water down, and tough rules for new development (more than their fair share). Where I look at stream flow: , way at the bottom of the page. But maybe people have to experience that water with their eyes and noses up close to get the tragedy of what we've done.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

On the other hand, we could make the flooding permanent. Michigan already has Milan. Why not Venice, too? Think of the tourism. (With tongue planted firmly in cheek)

Ryan J. Stanton

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

Who thinks the plan for an Allen Creek Greenway with not only recreational/transportation amenities but also significant stormwater management features is starting to sound better and better?


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

I do! Always have! That creek needs to get back to the surface.

Larry Baird

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

Yes, using West Park's recent storm water upgrades as an example, is there any data available to show how much water is being diverted from the Allen Creek drain at West Park and how much could be diverted if all three city owned properties added such features??


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Just reading more of the comments... Started thinking about flood insurance. Nature is one thing that causes floods. That is the reason that people in low lying areas purchase flood insurance. The question that could be asked here is... Has the city created an un-natural flood zone within it's city limits? Allowing business to expand into crowded area over taxing the storm drains with runoff that in the past would naturally flow into open ground area? The routing of storm runoff into roadways and storm drains that are inadequate for added pavement? Is the city responsible for allowing continued growth to permit this flooding. Many years ago I recall seeing small fields of grass within the city. Today those field are covers with concrete. Seems like the current administration should look at the expansion levels Ann Arbor has had over the past few years to see what they can do about the other issue that are coming to light today.

Ron Oblander

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

I live on a hill and never expected a flooded basement, but in 2010 it happened. There had been rain for days and then we had 4 inches in a 24 hour period. It was never clear as to whether it was outside water or a temporary backup from the city sewer (the water was clean), but fortunately my insurance company was good enough to pay for the cleanup. I've figured I won't be so lucky next time, so I've purchased flood insurance.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Here's a thought: forget all the millions being spent for consultants on "light rail" or "imagining Wash Ave" and instead spend the money on something practical and useful and needed, such as an upgraded storm sewer system.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

"The other thing we know is the rain was intense in some small areas, and maybe not in others, and most of it came down within a half hour, which was interesting," he said. "It looks like in some parts of the city it was what's called a 25-year storm, and maybe even more in others." University of Michigan weather observer Dennis Kahlbaum said Friday his calculations indicated the storms were "approximately a 50-year event, with some areas approaching a 100-year event." A 50-year event is one that has a 1 in 50 chance of happening in a calendar year. *********************** So the mayor understates the extent of the problem. No suprise there. I sure hope this is last term in office. Along with all his other bad decisions (skimming millage money from road maintenance for public art, approving 413 Huron, etc), understating a major storm sewer problem in the city is irresponsible. Maybe one of his public art projects can be used to fix the storm sewers over on First and William. How about that nonworking $750,000 fountain?

Tom Joad

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

I was wondering what they were doing with that gargantuan amount of gravel in the 4th avenue repaving project. Seems sensible to engineer a solution for capturing rainwater in ground than funneling it through over-taxed pipes to the river. The tremendous amount of concrete blanketing the city is obviously the reason for flooding in big rain events.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

The article mentions the sins of our fathers. Our fathers had enough sense not to pave 90% of an area and allow the rain water run off to accumulate in a small area. It is true that today we have the ability to improve run off and retention that was not available 70 years ago. The fact still remains that if you take away the natural paths of the water flow you create a problem that mother nature will remedy. We may not like the remedy. Solution... expand the locations you choose to build. I know the cost of storm drains reaching beyond their current locations costs money. Destruction of properties located in confined areas are just as costly. I have been told by lawyers it against Michigan law to create a water runoff onto adjoining properties? If the water flows naturally it is alright, but to curb, damn or otherwise change the direction of natural water flow onto a neighbor is illegal.

Paul Wiener

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

Yes, no doubt poor planning was involved with some of the flooding. But the real shock to most Ann Arborites, especially those who read and write for, is that the flooding was due to water and its torrential, ceaseless downpour over several days. Elemental, my dears.

vicki honeyman

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

before the city updated the westside storm drain system, murray avenue would turn into a and porches would fill up with water on the low end of the street, and residents would pull out their canoes for a short paddle.

peg dash fab

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4 p.m.

Please don't confuse the haters with facts.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Note to all students renting downtown: Here is another reason not to rent first floor apartments!

dave french

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

Maybe we should also look at zoning requirements that require all parking lots be paved. With proper pea gravel installation, lots could have good perculation with minimum storm water drainage added to an over-taxed sytem.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

retention reservoirs under paved parking could help in many ways, reducing the water flow and assisting in dryer times for sprinkler systems. Most areas today require retention ponds, a reservoir holding tank serves the same purpose and you can reuse the rain water to keep the grass green when there is no rain.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

but it's hard to clear the snow and ice on gravel. We don't want to create a pkg lot that is useable only in good weather (and in MI that's half the year).

Honest Abe

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

People in the past may have not been had the knowledge or 'know how', but using the phrase 'We're kind of paying for the sins of our fathers', is rather offensive and disrespectful. There is no sin, involved!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

It's funny. I didn't think that liberal democrats believed in sin. It's all good, mate. Whatever floats your boat.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Not a sin, and not a stupid idea either. At the time, it cured many problems - mosquitoes, erosion, muck near a growing downtown. The creek wasn't necessarily a scenic asset.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

Just a correction to your remark. Our fathers had more know how and much more knowledge than we do today. They knew that you could not build on top of each other and live peaceably with nature. The building that were created in Ann Arbor that has lasted a hundred years , I want to see the new buildings that they build today in a hundred years.. O.. I really do not want to see them.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

Thanks. I was hoping someone would bring that up. I was going to post it but decided to read the comments first. Too easy to use glib phrases. "Sin" had nothing to do with it.

E. Daniel Ayres

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

It is somewhat heartening to read this discussion and realize that back when decisions like putting Allen Creek underground were made, probably the folks who wanted to build houses or who already had houses in the area were the only parties actually consulted. We have learned over the years that "sustainable" engineering decision making is tricky business, and involves a fundamental principle of iterative refinement. We must learn from our experiences. Unfortunately, the "50 year flood" calculation is also obsolete in the modern context of rapid transformation of the climate. That said, I have "dry wells" under my 1939 luxury construction home which have become so saturated with aggregate moved by the water they were asked to absorb and penetrated by tree roots from our surrounding vegetation that they no longer function. Any effort to put a "dry well" under a street must be viewed in this context. It will diminish in its ability to absorb flash flood water over time and our climate keeps getting more variable, making it highly likely that once again, engineering predictions based on old standard formulae may be inadequate.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 9:46 a.m.

lets stay on topic fellas.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

Shepard, you are being absolutely silly. Check with Nasa and other well respected scientific organizations regarding actual recent climate data. Temperature going up faster than we've ever seen, and not suprisingly, more extreme weather events (warm air holds more moisture). But keep that head buried deep in the sand if you want. Next, why don't you actually try thinking about the change in this city in the decades since allen creek was put underground. Is the area of grass and permeable surface the same since then? No, it's not. Probably half as much now. The change in rate of surface run off should not be a surprise.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

What "rapid transformation of the climate"? LOL There is no such thing. So you assume the system was designed in another age when it didn't rain so much or always a gentle shower? Utter nonsense. The standard is fine, this is housing that was engineered decades ago to different requirements then are used today but the fundamentals remain the same: How much of the home buyers money is seized to pay for extreme rain events that occur a few times a year? This city is like Paris in the sense that the biggest negative are the Parisians.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

"Now I am sure the Mayor and the Liberal Democrats on the City Council will want to spend mega-bucks of Public money on government programs to fix the problem." There is no evidence of this in recent history, or future plan. The opposite is apparent: Divert maximal funding to folly. Capture more funds for folly, from every imaginable source: dedicated millage tax diversion, new millage requests, parkland conversion plans, years of hiked service fees, and relentless pursuit of federal grants. Meanwhile, in the environment of rich overall funding, traditional service levels and infrastructure rot and crumble with what appears to be malicious forethought and intent. Fix a problem? "Let them eat cake!"

Alan Goldsmith

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

This is what you get when you were a Mayor who couldn't care less about a City that provides basic services to its citizens. He's been in office for over a decade, as well as some on Council (my 4th Ward Council Representative Marcia Higgins) and every time there's an issue with flooding, roads falling apart, or failure of service they want to study, hiring consultants and push any tough decisions down the road to who knows when. No one take ownership, no one take responsibility. I frankly don't care, Mr. Mayor, how many times you've been to Montreal or Paris or how Ann Arbor is so much better off than Flint or what German artist you're having cocktails with. Do you job and lead and I don't mean creating a task force to decide what collar to paint city drain covers. This new City flooding is what happens when you have a previous water resources commissioner use her influence to build the giant city center water fountain and not do her job. And a Mayor who reads his own press clippings and somehow thinks HE is responsible for making Ann Arbor what it is.

The Picker

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 5:40 a.m.

Consultants/Studies = CYA


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

Ross Perot described the GM management culture as being one of "Ready. Aim. AIm. Aim. Aim. AIm...." and never actually pulling the trigger. Ann Arbor city government is a lot like that. At some point, you have to actually do something and not simply commission yet another study.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

Study a problem before spending money to fix it? What an outrage!!! Hire expert consultants rather than just go off half-cocked and "lead" with your own ideas? What are the odds that Alan would be loudly supportive of the mayor if he actually did that?

Roger Kuhlman

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

Now I am sure the Mayor and the Liberal Democrats on the City Council will want to spend mega-bucks of Public money on government programs to fix the problem. Let us not over-react to this situation. It should not become a new pretext to gogue homeowners and taxpayers in Ann Arbor. Taxation in Ann Arbor is already a heavy burden for a lot of people in this city.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

We don't have to go back anywhere near as far as our "fathers" to find city government not paying attention to infrastructure. We still have $845K in the "art bucket" though.

Concerned Neighbor

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

How about lining the new sewers with some of the art work? Some of to might look better there than the new Stadium Bridge.

Michigan Man

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Wait until our children are strapped with the debt of relentless public spending, pension shortfalls and non-stop government protections costing Billions that protect no one other than corrupt legislators - think people are pissed off now? Wait a couple of decades and some outrage will really be in evidence!

The Picker

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 5:33 a.m.

MM Our new public health system will have us all well sedated before then, so you see, there will be no worries in the future. As for our childrens economic future, well soon the government will have all the money and only the foolish will continue to work.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

I give it one decade and any outrage will be punished....I take that back. Already being harassed and punished.

Local Yocal

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

The city has numerous city/neighboorhood parks. Put rentention ponds in each and every one.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

Great idea, but they have to be in low areas since even in AA, water drains down hill. least until the Supreme Court rules otherwise.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

neighborhood parks are often visited by neighborhood children, many who are not properly supervised. This could cause a much larger safety concern for these children. Fences do not keep children safe.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Civil engineers who design these systems define a "50 year rain storm" as on any day of the week, there is a 1 in 50 chance of such a storm. The expression really has no meaning otherwise because it is a standard of design, not a predictor of weather. We can have three such events in a row for example. It does NOT mean is that we should expect on in 50 years. …and it especially has nothing to do with crank Al Gore's profit machine, the global warming fraud. Nobody on this site or at the City is going to do the research to answer questions about why so much of the city's storm drain system leads to flooding at times. It could be under sized because it was designed for a much smaller area and incorrectly expanded; it could be because the standards used to design the system were wrong; or most likely it was designed perfectly fine for those days and they did not mind a flood every once in awhile because the cost to avoid them would have been prohibitive when the sewers were first installed. ….or they simply screwed up. The comment about detention ponds is wrong. If the storm sewer were designed properly they would not be needed. …but again, that also costs money and we are the ones writing those checks. Such ponds are only band aides to help stretch under sized systems at the expense of the more recent property owners trying to build in the city. Why are they required to create such ponds? …because the City has the power of law to make them do it. Ann Arbor is not alone of course - many cities in Michigan have some form of these issues. ...small towns, not so much.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 12:31 a.m.

Everything about the expression is sloppy and most engineers hate discussing it. In any case, it doesn't really matter which since they are both relative and more importantly, as standards they are unrelated to weather prediction. It is the liberal media that is referencing something they don't understand in a framework that appears to sound like a surprise weather event when it's not. For example there is also a standard that says Michigan has 100 days of sun light per year, but nobody freaks out and calls Al Gore if it's sunny a 103rd day! There are standards for all kinds of things but luckily, the liberal media has never found those books ...but wouldn't understand them if they did.....but neither do people who waste money on solar panels in this state!! LOL


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

I don't get it. Aren't you describing a 50-DAY rain storm? Isn't a 50-year storm one that you have a one-in-fifty chance of having during any given YEAR?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

You are correct in what you say.. The one thing that is left out of course the expansion of sidewalks, streets, curbs, driveways, parking lots, and numerous other items that tax the system. Things that was beyond the control of pans designed 70 years ago. "It took us 100 years to create these problems, and they're not going to go away in two years," he said on Friday. "These are things you have to chip away at, and you have to eat the elephant one bite at a time." But this being said, If the current administration cannot blame someone else for the problem.... Well enough said.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Ryan - The way this was written would suggest this guy lost his job in the past 2 days. It is written in "past tense". Matt Kulhanek, who was the city's acting public services administrator on Friday, said parts of the city saw up to 2.5 inches of rain during the storm that rolled through Thursday.

Ryan J. Stanton

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

He was the acting public services administrator on Friday in Public Services Administrator Craig Hupy's absence.

Alan Goldsmith

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

For once it would be nice to not hear It's Not Our Fault from city and county leadership. It gets really old after awhile. If I hear global warming blamed and not incompetent long term planning...but that is par for the course in the Mayor's Pure Ann Arbor.

Dog Guy

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

I remember when the annual 50-year event was scheduled for Thursday of Art Fair Week.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

along with Stiflingly Hot temp's! yack!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

Don't worry, there will be another one that week.

An Arborigine

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Ah, the good old days!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

I wonder how the auto insurance companies are gonna respond to kayak-on-car damage claims.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 9:35 a.m.

not covered due to "act of goon clause".


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

What does where you live have to do with auto insurance? Is buying a house on a hill going to help you when driving downtown? Is the mail carrier ony supposed to deliver to high ground? With the local high water table you're basically saying dont live in Ann Arbor.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

This is low information AA where common sense is as rare as traditional American values - everything needs to be hammered into their heads repeatedly.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

Yes - you've made your somewhat odd opinion clear repeatedly.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Don't live in a flood zone and you won't have to worry about it. If someone buys a house in an area that floods, they will eventually get wet and crying about it then won't get my sympathy from the informed.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

From the article: "Conceptually they're soaking the water into the ground rather than sending it into a pipe..." This made my spidey senses tingle. Messing around with Mother Nature can have unintended consequences; in this case sinkholes. Sinkholes can form when natural water-drainage patterns are changed and new water-diversion systems are developed. Some sinkholes form when the land surface is changed, such as when industrial and runoff-storage ponds are created; the substantial weight of the new material can trigger an underground collapse of supporting material, thus causing a sinkhole. But I'm sure our city-sponsored hydro-engineers know exactly what they're doing.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

@Runs How does "allowing water to soak into the ground" equal "messing around with Mother Nature"?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Sinkholes are cool. They occur where glaciers cover over subteranian mountain ranges and over time ground water causes continued erosion. Sink holes mostly result when there is a deep settling, collapse or land slide that pulls earth from the surface down. Sinkholes are not caused by development - you are thinking of common erosion when flooding washes away the base of a structure. That is not a sink hole silly. Runs with chain saw.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

Sinkholes tend to occur in areas of karst geology, like Florida. This isn't one of those areas.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

Anybody wish we had that 1% for art that was skimmed off the storm water projects back to throw at this problem? The $100,000,000 waste water treatment plant gave up $1,000,000 for art, did it not? And the AAPAC feels compelled (or is compelled by charter) to spend every penny on art. I am guessing Mr. Pratt would like some of that money back...

Sabra C Briere

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

Dear DJ, It's the difference between 'contributing' and 'spending'. Any single project could contribute no more than $250,000 toward art (it was in the Percent for Art ordinance). There was no cap on 'spending' from the Percent for Art fund. And Brad, I get that you are PO'd the Council did not vote to return all those funds to their fund of origin. Thank you for sticking to your guns. But no more projects will contribute a percent toward art, and any new municipal art will either come from donations or be severely restricted as part of a construction project. That change was also made by Council.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

"And of course, that is all finished now." "All finished" except for that $845K that wasn't returned to the original sources. Nice try, though.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2 p.m.

If the percentage for art is capped at $250,000 per project, explain how it is that the budget for the City Hall Fountain was in excess of $750,000, and the budget for the Stadium Bridge is $360,000? And the total for all sewer work taken in is $800,000? Is it capped at 250K or not? That's the problem with these programs and their management, even the City Council, who is supposed to be in charge of expenditures, cannot explain where our money goes!

Sabra C Briere

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Dear DJ, Not defending anything by this comment, just offering the facts. The most any single project could ***ever*** have contributed to the Percent for Art program was $250,000. And of course, that is all finished now. Although I don't recall the exact amount the storm water fund contributed toward the percent for art, it was in the area of $60,000. The total for contributions toward that program from all the new sewer work around town is about $800,000 - but this is for waste water, and wouldn't have been used to build storm water infrastructure. (They don't mix.)


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

I think the headline is accurate; we really are paying for the sin of putting a big creek underground into a pipe. I'm speaking of Allen creek, of course. As long as it remains underground in it's existing pipe, any single day rain event above 1.5-2" is going to cause this type of flooding. Simple as that. People can put in some rain gardens and take other measures to reduce run-off, but until you get to a serious reduction (20+ %) we won't notice any real reduction in Allen creekway flooding.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

I will admit that I am ignorant of the Allen Creek issues back in time. It has been said though that the creek was a mosquito haven, the water level during the summer months was low and carried little water down a stream. Piping and covering the creek eliminated the birthplace of millions, no trillions of mosquitoes. The drain now is not adequate for the amount of run off that has been diverted to the old creek area. It is the diversion of this water has been the issue for Allen Creek.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:22 a.m.

Wrong? What was wrong, buddy? Did I put a date on my description of when that happened? Do you have any knowledge of what the colloquial saying "sins of our forefathers" even means?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Wrong - that was done all the time back in the good ole days.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

I was under the impression that a portion of our (very high) property taxes is supposed to go to infrastructure upgrades. Has this been neglected as officials diverted funds for other projects? All I know is this: I bought a home in Burns Park in 1998. On the disclosure, the previous owner was asked about any problems with water in the basement. He answered, "No," which was borne out by the following 11 years of my residence here, even during severe storms. However, in the last three years, we've had numerous basement flooding occurrences. Something has changed radically, but I am more than a bit skeptical that the blame can all be laid at our "Father's" or Mother Nature's door.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Nope - high taxes do not equal engineering nirvana. They are unrelated - AA taxes are high because the city is run by liberal democrats who bankrupt everything they get their grubby little hands on - ask California and Detroit how things are going. I'm saying buy a house as high up as you can relative to any neighborhood - always and everywhere. But your basement should not be flooding. If it's recent, it probably has nothing to do with the city. Your drain tile may have failed or something about your house - grading problem, gutters or sump pump outlet may be messed up. Ask somebody.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

Sometihing has change. There is ineptitude afoot! Once the town came in and made us all pay to have "hookup" to the existing storm drain, I started hearing my neighbors complain about water in the basement due to the system backing up. We do not have water in our basement anymore because my husband -an engineer with actual ability-created a pipe system to reroute the water that actually works. The town needs to hire people that know what they are doing, blaming it on "our fathers" or saying ridiculous comments such as "it took 100 years to happen, and cannot be fixed in 2 years" is an example of their lack of knowledge and ability to actually fix the problem. More hogwash from politicians who rather spend money on art. Another example of nonsense.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

I think the point is, what has changed around it since 1932. Have additions been added to houses in the neighborhood, limiting the available soil for rain to soak into ? Have formerly gravel drives been paved? Has the earth around you house settled into patterns that direct water toward, rather than away from, it?

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Where there's trees, there's roots.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Shephard145 - Huh? Built in 1932 and no evidence of water in basement until 3 years ago? But I should have known (something?) better? I'm not getting what you mean....


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

I don't profess to be a Civil Engineer, but as the City continues to lay down more and more concrete for high rise dorms, parking garages, etc.. the water has NO where to go when it hits the ground. Even small patches of earth/grass can go a long way in absorbing water.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Your assumption is categorically wrong, but your basement should not be flooding. There is an engineering reason it floods and you should find that out by talking to your neighbors or the City. ...and next time you buy a house, pay better attention to it's location.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Have to agree with another individual who stated that if the storm issue would have been addressed adequately in the 90s, we would not have these problems I love the idea of rain gardens. However, I also believe that developers need to take some responsibility in making sure storm sewer problems are taken care of when building new subdivisions.

peg dash fab

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

storm SEWERS! and sanitary sewers. #hmph


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

Developers? LOL How about home owners who buy a 60 year old house at the bottom of a hill or low in a valley or in a flood zone and then act all shocked when they get water in their yards or in the street in front of their homes? LOL Developers hire engineers to design to standards and if those standards back in the day viewed occasional flooding as a reasonable off set to the cost of preventing it during a major storm event, which may have been the case, they so be it.

Silly Sally

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.


Judith H

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

I beg to differ with Mr Pratt. We are not "paying for the sins of our fathers" but for the lack of action by our City Staff, Managers, Mayor, and City Council. In 1997, the City paid Black & Veatch for a study to determine the effectiveness of the storm water system. The recommendation from B&V was that the system was woefully inadequate even then! The cost to remedy the problem was so high, the City chose not to follow the advice. If you lived here in 1997 (as I did), think how much development has occurred since then! No wonder we have continued flooding. More needs to be done to slow down development until the flooding problems can be addressed. More and better data gathering needs to be done so that we can understand the problems. And more needs to be done to alleviate the current flooding as much as possible in the short term while working toward long term solutions.

Alexander H

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

I was going to join the in the same fallacy that Judith did, untill I read her comment. Mr. Pratt never defines who the fathers are so he very well may have been speaking of previous administrations and not necessarily the populace as a whole for the last 100 years as the article seems to insinuate. Because if you are going to hold the entire populace resopnsible for things like this then that would mean that the form of government in place is Rouseau's, "The general will of the population" but I am pretty certain that I did not give the city my input on their nazi style parking enforcement.

Local Yocal

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

I see no reason why a retention pond could not be installed at the bottom of the parking areas at Maple Village parking lot. That area is rarely used for parking.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

All the new developments have to manage their storm water. Its the old sites that are the problem (like the Maple Village shopping center).


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Judith H, are you saying that in the 15 years since that study was done, none of the recommendations have been implemented or started?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Areas of the City where basements back up should be fixed. Other temporary flooding on peoples lawns and residential streets should be ignored. A little water a few times a year, if that, is the price for buying a house in an area of the City that floods. Personally I like high ground, but that's just me. LOL


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

No, we really are paying for the sins of our forefathers. They put Allen creek underground into a small pipe. Almost all the major flooding was along the allen creek floodway.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Where is the DDA when you need them?


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

How in the hell does the DDA have ANYTHING to do with flooding? I guess you want to blame EVERYTHING bad that happens int he city on the DDA. Flooding happens. If it is a TWO % chance of this kind of rain happening, why would we adjust everything in life to wrap around it.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

I guess we'll just have to wait until someone needs them to find out.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Victims of the recent floods should console themselves by taking stock of the excellent public artwork on display at AAPD HQ.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

Yep. It's all about the Art...Do you realize just how stupid that sounds?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Good comment GoNavy, it is a shame that the town refuses to address such a waste of money when we have more urgent needs... yea like a "study" to tell officials where we need storm drains..... Wouldnt it make sense to work on the areas that are getting flooded?

Silly Sally

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Did the storm wash away the pigeon droppings from the Hurional in front of City Hall?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

go (away) navy

Bill Sloan

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:15 a.m.

I am surprised that it wasn't mentioned in this article, but interested people might take a look at the storm water retention being included in the re-building of Miller Ave between Newport and Maple. There are already two large rain gardens in place, one near Maple on the north side and another just west of Newport on the south side. I understand that several individual curb cuts and rain gardens are also planned for "lawn extensions" like Happy Senior suggests. Homeowner rain gardens are also sprouting up all over. I have one that reduces my roof storm sewer runoff by 80%. And I get an tax break!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

I went by this retention area yesterday, and my thoughts were: This is pretty nice and looks like it works, and might develop into a nice ecosystem; and I wonder how the neighbors are liking their new mosquito retention pond?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Waste of time. A little water in the streets a few times a year is not the end of the world as we know it. Too much is made of minor flooding. Different if your basement backs up - that is much more serious and requires help from the City.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Great suggestion!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.

That strip of vegetation and land between the city street and the sidewalk belongs to the city. But the homeowner takes care of mowing and planting. It is the final stop before rainwater moves across the ground surface on its way to the gutter and the storm sewer. If even a portion of these strips were fashioned as rain gardens, it would make a significant difference in the amount of rain water that reaches the storm sewer.

Great Lakes Lady

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

HappySenior: Great idea!!!!

Rod Johnson

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Storm drains are also called storm sewers. Storm sewers and sanitary sewers are two different things.

peg dash fab

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

Storm sewer, sanitary sewer. hmph.

Silly Sally

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Storm DRAIN, not sewer. The city spent a lot to disconnect the sewers from the storm drains

Hugh Giariola

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 10:29 a.m.

How did that subdivision off of Lohr Road with the flooding problems fare during these storms?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

It's down near Monroe now, with some nice lake views actually