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Posted on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Should Ann Arbor keep its footing drain disconnection program? Tuesday public meeting marks beginning of study

By Amy Biolchini

Ann Arbor residents can share their opinions on the city’s footing drain disconnection program at a public meeting Tuesday night as a part of the Sanitary Sewer Wet Weather Evaluation Project.

The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the media center at Tappan Middle School at 2251 E. Stadium Drive in Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor street flooding.jpg

Flooding in an Ann Arbor neighborhood. The city is conducting a study of its sanitary sewer system to see if the footing drain disconnect program has an effect on reducing flows during major wet weather events.

Ryan Stanton | file photo

It marks the beginning of the $1.2 million study of Ann Arbor’s sanitary sewer system and the impact that the city’s footing drain disconnection program has had on sanitary flow rates during wet weather events.

The study will evaluate whether continuing the footing drain disconnection program is still the best option for the city to pursue.

The city initiated the project after resident complaints regarding the footing drain disconnection program caused it to be temporarily suspended in an unanimous Ann Arbor City Council vote in September.

An analysis of the footing drain disconnection program has been a part of its capital improvements plan since its inception, said Nick Hutchinson, project manager for the city. The suspension may have hastened the review of the program by a year, Hutchinson said.

A footing drain is a small drainage pipe four inches in diameter located near the foundation of a house intended to keep rainwater seeping through the ground from collecting near the foundation of a basement. For many Ann Arbor homes, they’re connected to the sanitary sewer.

During storm events, rainwater from the storm sewer overflowed into the sanitary sewer, which then backed up into some basements with footing drains. As an effort to confront the problem in 2001, a study and citizens advisory committee recommended the footing drain disconnect program, Hutchinson said.


A diagram of a footing drain on a house.

Courtesy of the City of Ann Arbor

The city has installed sump pumps in homes in which it disconnected the footing drains in order to divert water to the stormwater drainage system.

The Sanitary Sewer Wet Weather evaluation study is one of several stormwater and flooding-related studies being conducted by the city - the most major of which is the $2 million Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis.

“Some of the answers from the monitoring on stormwater will help inform the sanitary project,” said Jerry Hancock, stormwater and floodplain coordinator for the city of Ann Arbor. “They weren’t timed to happen together on purpose.”

There’s also a joint study underway between the city of Ann Arbor and the Washtenaw County Office of Water Resources of the Upper Malletts Creek watershed.

Historically, Malletts Creek flowed through where the Landsdowne neighborhood sits now - an area known for footing drain backups during wet weather events.

Hutchinson said the sanitary sewer study will review new technologies to see if there’s ways of alleviating the flow through the sanitary sewer during storm events to prevent the water levels in the pipe from overwhelming the system.

“Everything’s going to be on the table here,” Hutchinson said.

Additionally, a citizens advisory committee will be formed to see the project through its 18 to 24 month time frame.

“Ultimately, (the citizens advisory committee) will be involved in selecting economically viable alternatives for dealing with sanitary sewer backups,” Hutchinson said, noting that their recommendations will go before city council for approval.

Most of the data in the study will be collected over the summer.

The study will use meters that have been placed in the sanitary sewer system to gauge how full the pipe gets during storm events, said Troy Baughman, project manager for the city of Ann Arbor.

Another meter will measure velocity and flow levels. Rain gauge data is also being used.

The city has similar data on sanitary sewer flows prior to the initiation of the footing drain disconnection program to see if the program has had an impact.

Aside from the study, the city is working with residents who reported that their sump pumps installed by the city are ineffective in keeping water from flooding their basements in some neighborhoods where the city’s stormwater system has been overwhelmed.

“We are looking into basement wetness issues that have had footing drain disconnects,” Hutchinson said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Dave the guitar player

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

The answer is obvious: 1) Don't let anyone else connect to their footing drains to the sewer system. 2) Stop the mandatory footing drain disconnection program. 3) Charge a fee to all households and businesses with footing drains connected to the sewer system. 4) Use the money from the footing drain fees and new connections to pay for a major upgrade of the storm water system. 5) Start a program to help homeowners opt into connecting their footing drains to the storm water system in order to stop paying the extra sewer fees. With a program like this, the market will eventually move everyone off draining into the sewer system and money will be made available to upgrade the storm water system to accept the extra load. Homeowners might not like the extra fee, but there is no free lunch. You cannot continue to dump your footing drains into the sewer system for free.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

I voted 1-3 because we had 2 or 3 basement floods prior to having the disconnect work done. Been dry ever since (fingers crossed). It was my understanding that the other reason this project was put in place was the overburdened water treatment system. Did they magically find some extra capacity somewhere? BasicBob has the right plan. Move forward with updating the storm system then proceed with disconnects. Creating all the extra black water every time it rains or when the snow melts off is just silly.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

I installed a subpump as part of the city's disconnect system and it works fine as it does for most homes.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 10:13 a.m.

Ruth, lost power during a storm is a major cause of sump pump failure. Back up sump pumps are often inadequate to be valid back up systems.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

Ruth, you work for the Water Dept., don't you?

Nice in A2

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

My understanding, from talking to the people who worked on my basement is that the city over-built it's storm water system "back in the day" smart! , but all the development that has happened since has over burdened the system. The correct, and very pricey fix, it to increase the pipe size in the existing storm water system. This cost can be spread out over time, of course, by concentrating on problem areas first. The city's most recent solution is not so much a band-aid as a "it could have worked!". From my, currently high and dry, perspective it's time to collect and spend the money needed to do the proper fix (make the storm pipes larger). No one is going to be happy with the cost and it's sad that that cost was not collected over the years while all this new development happened.

E. Daniel Ayres

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Unfortunately for most citizens, "the developers" have more influence early in the game and are more than willing in most cases to push off as much of the expense of infrastructure development as possible onto future generations and municipalities rather than accept expenses for infrastructure as a "cost of doing business." THIS MUST STOP! The only way that makes sense to me is a constitutional amendment which makes it clear that all manner of corporate entities are not "people" and do not have any rights except those granted by "the people" through representative government.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

According to the city's website on the program, the city will provide $4,100 for the "core work" on a typical household, but "exceptional circumstances" could warrant additional payment by the city.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 10:11 a.m.

Amy, the $'s for this program are from increased fees/costs from our water/sewage bills.

Jack Eaton

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

I think a common misconception in these comments is relates to how the sump pump system works. When the footing drains are disconnected from the waste water system they are then connected to the storm water system. The waste water pipes under the road at at a depth that is similar to the depth of the footing drain pipes, but the storm water pipes are not as deeply situated. Thus, it becomes necessary to install a pump to move the water from the depth of the footing drains up to the depth of the storm water pipes. Because the storm system is already overburdened, the pipe from the footing drain sump pump to the storm water system has a gap. That gap is intended to prevent the storm water system from backing up into your basement. The sump pump moves water from the footing drains to the gap in the pipe, which is situated just outside the foundation of the home. Because the storm system is already overburdened, the water can not enter the storm water system and instead escapes through that gap. That water seeps back into the footing drain and cycles through the sump pump repeatedly, until the storm water system can catch up with the storm burden. To see a photograph of the gap in the footing drain disconnect system design, go to the Lawton Neighborhood FDD web page:

Cindy Baetz

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

I'm confused about your statement that "when the footing drains are disconnected from the waste water system they are then connected to the storm water system.".When did this reconnection take place? It didn't happen at my house. Just a pipe from the sump pump to my back yard.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

Thanks, this is useful.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

"I'm baffled by people who talk about sump water going back into their footing drains." Baffle not. Look at the picture at the top of the article. Sump pumps and rain gardens are not the answer for the problem addressed in this article. See the picture? Get the picture! The footing drain disconnect program was mandated by the city to allow more development. Developers were forced to pay for the disconnect program forced upon owners of established, existing neighborhoods. The city continues to allow more development when existing infrastructure was overwhelmed ten years ago. The uniformed, wishful-thinking experiment is failed. Grab a bucket! (Can't find one? There are many in the city's accounting system.)


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

"The problem shown by the photo is blocked or overwhelmed storm drains." Hmmm. Didn't you also post this above? "We're paying for the storm system because we all benefit from it." Oh, and this: "The sump pump water should be piped far enough away from your house so that doesn't come back to the foundation. [...] If that's not possible, then it should go out to the street so it can go in the storm drain." So on the one hand, you put all your faith in the storm drain system, but then on the other hand you acknowledge that there's an issue with "overwhelmed storm drains." You also acknowledge that overwhelmed storm drains are a problem that "can occur regardless of the footing disconnect." So if the storm drains can already be overwhelmed even without additional water from residents' sump pumps, why do you want to channel even more water to them through additional footing drain disconnections? What possible outcome will that produce aside from many more flooded basements? Why do you want more flooded basements? Oh, I forgot ... because it's "cheaper." You pay less in taxes. In the end, it's all about you.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

The problem shown by the photo is blocked or overwhelmed storm drains. That problem can occur regardless of the footing disconnect. Rain gardens up hill from wherever that would could very well have helped trap a bit of that water. They aren't the only solution, and I never said they were. You're over-simplifying again. The alternative to the disconnect program was to build a bigger sanitary sewage treatment plant to process all the stormwater that was going into the system. That would have been more expensive than the disconnections. Has there been recent development in the areas where the flooding has occurred? Seems to me they are established neighborhoods.

Judith H

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

The City has been using our homes for experiments for years and it's time to stop this nonsense! Although studies can be an important tool in decision-making, when you pay millions of dollars for a study and then not follow through with the implentation (Black & Veacher, Village Oaks-Chaucer Court for example), then it is a waste of money. Ann Arbor Underwater is a neighborhood group that is protesting the FDD program. Visit our website ( to find out more, to join our group, and to read the "Air Gap articles"--which show the ineffective City-engineered sump pump discharge lines. I have read some of the project material from the newly hired firm that is doing this latest Sanitary Sewer Study and about 90% of it is public relations to convince neighbors that FDDs are good. Seems like the results of the study are already pre-determined, doesn't it?


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

How many times will the bright ones in city hall do a study make a decision, then reverse that decision 4-5 years later? Answer just about every time!


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

But Amy the city was helter skelter about where they installed the sumps. My neighbor was gone for a few days, the pump failed. 2" of water on the floor. New carpet and vanity. Last week.

Judith H

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

It was the "least costly option" because it shifted the burden of cost to the homeowner. Who pays for the electricity to run the pump? Or the water if a hydraulic backup was installed (which, by the way, uses 2 or more gallons of water for every 1 pumped out)? Who pays to install a new pump when the first one breaks down--which in many areas--because of the amount of groundwater-happens yearly? Does the City check to see if any of these sump pumps are working properly? The answer is no. Why should someone's basement be used as a retention pond? Because that is what is happening to many people! The answer to the above questions is: the homeowner.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

It was also the least costly approach for the taxpayers.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

In terms of the Footing Drain Disconnection program, that was developed more than 10 years ago. There were three options floated at the time -- the two others were installing larger sewer pipes and building storage basins. Disconnecting the footing drains was the most direct way to address the problem according to the task force at the time.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

I support the footing drain disconnect program. It's wasteful of tax money and energy to dump stormwater into the sanitary system. In effect, all of us paying sewer bills are also paying the cost of keeping a few basements dry. Shouldn't that be the responsibility of the property owner? I agree that that stormwater management is important too, especially as the current trend (since the 50's) is for rain to fall in shorter, heavier storms. I'm glad we are finally getting an overall review of the this vital system, i think it's overdue. I'm baffled by people who talk about sump water going back into their footing drains. Come on, this isn't rocket science. The sump pump water should be piped far enough away from your house so that doesn't come back to the foundation. Isn't that obvious? Ideally it should go to low spots on your own property so it can soak into the ground. A rain garden is great for that and looks good too. If that's not possible, then it should go out to the street so it can go in the storm drain.

Cindy Baetz

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 2:25 a.m.

Well, you guessed it! Water tends to run downhill and, yes, our backyard water runs into our neighbor's yards. It's a slower flow, however, than the water pumping from our sump. And no, we weren't connected to the storm system. Lots of us weren't.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

Ok, now I know that at least some sump pumps actually pump out to the storm drain through pipe. Ms. Straetz, I guess yours doesn't. What happens to the rainwater that falls in your yard or driveway or garage roof? I guess that flows into your neighbors' basements too?


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

"I'm baffled by people who talk about sump water going back into their footing drains. Come on, this isn't rocket science. The sump pump water should be piped far enough away from your house so that doesn't come back to the foundation. Isn't that obvious?" It should be obvious, but the city-approved contractors who do these installations don't do them that way, and they make a number of other mistakes that contribute to failure of the sump-pump setup. Add to that the fact that the undersized storm sewers are already overburdened and unable to accept more water, and you get sump pumps backing up, resulting in water in basements. The design of the FDDP is an utter failure, and there's no easy fix. But you go right on ahead and support the program because you think it's saving you a few tax dollars. Your meager tax savings will no doubt be a comfort to us while we're bailing out our basements.

Cindy Baetz

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

We live on higher ground than our neighbors and our sump-pumped water now flows into their yards/basements/crawl spaces. One size does not fit all.

Charles Curtis

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

The footing drains should be disconnected from sanitary sewers, but the city needs to install some storm sewers that are only for these disconnected systems. The storm sewer cannot handle the water pumped into them during large rain events. The city over developed and now allows new development to buy out of dealing with rain water. What has the city done with those funds? There has been no work done to increase storm water sewers. If the storm water sewers capacity were increased, I think the issues would be limited to poor quality sump pumps selected and approved by the city and power outages. Of course I guess studying sanitary capacity is the issue. I thought the city had already installed the measurement devises, wasn't that why they justified doing the disconnect in then first place? Why wasn't there any continuous monitoring done during the whole project? Common sense would have you monitor the things of concern while doing work and one would expect it to show a positive result. Why do measurements 6 yrs ago and then stop until something is not working as designed? And I would think a modern sanitary system would ALREADY have full time measurements of flow and volume. What are they doing guessing? We as tax payers really need to get rid of the stupid people running things.

Charles Curtis

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Well they need to increase the capacity of storm water. It would not be cheap, but they have done somewhere near 600 disconnects at a cost of about $5,000 each. Seems to be a massive waste if the disconnects have now where to go. Dont you build the foundation before the structure? There are more options than simple gravity system (even if that the best). As they rip up major streets and do major reconstruction, they should increase the capacity or run a secondary storm sewer. Its a 10-20 year plan, but apparently all thats been done is a study said too much water to treatment plant, let remove some footing drains and redirect to storm sewer with out ever figuring if the storm can handle it, and it cannot.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

The footing drains should be disconnected from sanitary sewers, but the city needs to install some storm sewers that are only for these disconnected systems. Where would these dedicated storm sewers be run? Down the middle of the existing streets? So all the streets need to be replaced also? We as tax payers really need to get rid of the stupid people running things. I agree! But your solution is not a solution, tearing up all the streets for a dedicated storm line. Maybe there is a way to shoot it up into the air and hope it evaporates.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

You need at least two sump pumps. The second must be able to run without electricity - for days. That means it probably needs to be powered from city water pressure. Upgrading the sanitary sewer to handle the flow costs massive millions, which you would pay via taxes. Diverting your house drains from the sanitary sewer to the storm water sewer costs thousands, as the lawn typically must be dug up, etc. And then you must worry about bad stuff going down drains and ending up in our creeks, where those stormwater drains often discharge. Sadly, it isn't an easy problem to solve, and the nature of the problem varies by location.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

The city had a problem. They had an overflowing sewage treatment plant and sewage was also backing into people's homes. To solve this they tried to create what is known as an SEP*. They tried to get rid of their problem by making it every homeowner's problem instead. They told us we are creating the problem by allowing our footing drain water to go into the waste drain, and we must stop doing that by installing sump pumps and redirecting that water into the storm drain system instead. The problem is all that water just ended up flooding the streets, vehicles, yards and basements, and now it's the city's problem again. - - - - - - *An SEP, or "Somebody Else's Problem," according to Douglas Adams, is "something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem.... The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot." It's supposed to work based on the theory that, "it relies on people's natural predisposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain."


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Great post - love how you worked SEP into it!

Dirty Mouth

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

Based on the poll, if it ain't broke, don't fix it? Nearly 70% of folks are not effected either way! Nothing to see here, move along.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

They're not floods, they're "rain gardens." Why does so many times include an image without providing a larger version? In this case, the second image - the diagram. You cant read the writing in it.

Cindy Baetz

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

You're right that the graphic is too small to read - go to your computers page properties and increase the size to whatever percent makes it legible. I00% made it perfectly fine to read on my computer.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

It's too bad you don't know what a rain garden is. They're pretty cool.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Thanks. I really did go looking for it, following a couple of those links.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Apologies that the graphic ended up that small -- I'll make it bigger in the story. The full version can be found on the city's website:


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

We, never had water in our basement until after we were forced to install a sump pump. Rather than solving a problem, the program created a new one. The footing drain disconnection program was ill-conceived.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

I'd really rather not install a sump pump if at all possible. My basement stays dry as it is now, and I'd like to keep it that way.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

"We're paying for the disconnect system because it's cheaper than leaving them connected." You obviously don't live in one of the affected areas. "I also don't want to pay to keep the rain that falls on your property out of your basement. That should be your responsibility." You're clearly perfectly fine with paying to make sure that the rain that falls on my property ends up flooding my basement, because that's what the footing drain disconnection program will lead to, just as it already has in houses that are less a block from mine. Why is it OK for my basement to flood just so you can pay a few dollars less in taxes? Don't you want your tax dollars to go to infrastructure that actually works as designed, rather than a demonstrably flawed system that has already failed hundreds of residents and will continue to fail them, repeatedly, in the future, along with hundreds more who have merely been lucky up to this point? Why are you supporting the waste of taxpayer money by hailing a system that doesn't work and will inevitably have to be replaced by a new system that does work, at even greater expense? A cheap solution is only truly cheap if it works. If it doesn't, it ends up costing us all more — as this failed project surely will.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

We're paying for the disconnect system because it's cheaper than leaving them connected. We're paying for the storm system because we all benefit from it. I don't want your basement to flood. I also don't want to pay to keep the rain that falls on your property out of your basement. That should be your responsibility.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

We all pay for this footing drain disconnection program too, and for the storm sewers that they've installed. That's how taxes work. Apparently you just want my basement to flood. If I'm forced to install a sump pump and I end up with a flooded basement, you'll all be paying for my lawsuit as well.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

If your house has footing drains that connect to the sanitary sewer system, then we're all paying to keep your basement dry.

Richard Fisher

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

I completely agree with a2grateful who has very nicely stated the problem. As has often been the case over the years the city is pushing its problem (inadequate storm drainage) onto homeowners instead of fixing the drains. As often happens, its not all the home owners that suffer, possibly just a few. This allows the city to bully (a common practice) some of their citizens who do not have the resources to fight back. Hopefully this time there will be enough publicity to help the homes affected. It's about time the citizenry and neighborhoods are listened to, not just downtown. The article above mentions Upper Malletts Creek. Maintenance (or rather neglect) of the creek has led to other problems where the city has again bullied residents instead of standing up to their responsibilities. How about at least "doing the right thing" regarding the storm drains?

Jim Osborn

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

draining storm water into "sanitary" sewers has never made any sense, in my opinion. I grew up in California where there are two well developed systems. I was shocked when I heard that the local sewage plants became overloaded during storms. I've seen online pictures of Ann Arbor homes that have had basement sump pumps added by the city with the discharge outside and very close to the ground. Then when it floods at the home, the water runs down the pipe and floods the home. This can be solved by two methods. One is to add a one way valve to the pipe and the other is to raise the discharge pipe higher off the ground to a point higher than any expected flooding ground water. If a single sump pump is not enough, add a second. This is proof that the disconnect is necessary, as all that water was overloading the sewer plant.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

" . . . all you've done is make a crummy fountain." And we already have one of those.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

My understanding is that the sump pump outlets are connected to the storm sewer system under the street. If you just take the footer drain water and pump it to ground level next to the foundation all you've done is make a crummy fountain.

Jim Osborn

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Pump the water further away than just outside the home, so it can't seep back in! Buy a $200 generator for the sump pump if it is that crucial to keep the basement dry.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

Well, not exactly, but kinda. Pump it into the street, then it and everybody else's water floods the street, and THEN it ends up in your neighbors lot. And your lot, too!


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

Pump it into my neighbor's lot?


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

Why use 1.2 million dollars to study the issue - the answer should be obvious. Is there more flooding after the program was instituted in certain areas of the city than before. A brief examination of city records and current records by one of the many city employees already being paid a salary to do this kind of basic fact-gathering should suffice. Then the 1.2 million can be used to undo the failed system, and in future the input of impartial engineers who are trained to build these kind of systems. I say impartial because there was clearly an agenda by some people on the council that "stormwater runoff is bad and evil" and there shouldn't be any. Homeowners in Ann Arbor deserve to have a city council that keeps the infastructure that WE WANT functioning.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

C'mon - do you want a dry basement or do you want a dry fountain outside city hall? You have to have your priorities!


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

i was one of the first one to sign up. I live in the dicken neighborhood. my basement never flooded before you made me put in a sub pump. now it floods every other year. thank you city Ann Arbor! the sub pump breaks, or the power goes off and I am screwed. I never worried about flooding until you put in the program. My office area is 3-4 feet from the pump, now everything is off the ground. just in case. Leave folks alone they have a problem. I wish you'd left my house alone.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Why is this difficult to understand? If we 1) disconnect stormwater carrying capacity in one system, then we should compensate by 2) increasing stormwater carrying capacity in another system. The reason this is difficult to understand is that leaders prefer to focus on folly art, and folly train programs, rather than vital infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, service provision, and public safety. City a2's brilliant alternative solution has been to install sump pumps that carry a home's "interior" flood water to its flooded house perimeter, where stormwater cycles in an endless loop until 1) Sump pump is taxed beyond capacity (like many taxpayers), sump pump doesn't pump fast enough, and basement floods. 2) Power fails, sump pump stops, and basement floods. 3) Sump pump dies from overuse, and basement floods. 4) Rains stop and water recedes. So, let's perform a lengthy and expensive study, so that we can document the sequence above. Then, we'll hire consultants to devise numerous plans to alleviate the problems. Then we'll do nothing for a few years. . . because we're drunk in our thinking about trains and art . . . Meanwhile? Grab a bucket and mop. . . The basement is flooded. . .


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

When mine was installed, we were offered the standard backups of a battery or a water operated pump. Since my basement floor drains already go to the sanitary sewer, I opted to have a floor drain installed next to the sump. The sump was installed slightly lower with a diverter to the floor drain in the event it overflowed due to lack of power or the pump failing. This is a perfectly acceptable alternative that the city did not advertise. Didn't take a rocket science degree to figure out that this was the cheapest, long term, and correct solution to pump failure.

Judith H

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

This is in response to Epengar--the way the City installed the sump discharge caused water to backup and flow through the air gaps which are right next to the foundation. This happens because there is so much water flow in the storm sewer lines, the sump pump can't keep up. This is how the City installed it! Also--the City did not pay for backup batteries. If you wanted one, you paid for it yourself. Some people couldn't afford it. In addition, they fail, they need recharging, they are heavy, most only work for 8 hours. Often the power is out for much longer than that.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

lazy thinking, faulty points why should the sump pump output go back into the footing drains? If it does, it was installed wrong. Sump pumps come with battery backups In many parts of the city the stormwater system may already have the capacity to absorb the footing drain output. No point upgrading for nothing.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

It's wasteful to add stormwater runoff to the sanitary system. Upgrade the storm sewer system if necessary.

Steve Hendel

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

Another option would be to abolish Citizens' Advisory Committees (CAC) in areas where the ends are undisputed (abate or abolish neighborhood flooding) but the means to achieve them are not. In such cases, the decisions needed are primarily technical in nature and should properly be assigned to the people most qualified to make them, i.e. engineers and consultants. Those decisions would presumably require funding, and would thus be submitted to the primo CAC, i.e. the Ann Arbor City Council, which is elected by ALL the citizens and accountable to them.

Basic Bob

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:36 a.m.

The storm sewers need to be upgraded before the footing drains are disconnected. Ideally, homeowners should not connect their footing drains into the sanitary sewers, where it needs to be treated at a great expense to the other water users, or backs up into other people's basements.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

The program causes more problems than it solves. It should be discontinued.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Oh, what the heck. I voted you up for both comments. If you repeat it a third time, I'll vote for that one too.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:22 a.m.

The program causes more problems than it solves. It should be discontinued.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:22 a.m.

Why is option #2 out of sequence? you know if I don't ask somebody will. :)

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

now i can sleep at night. ;)

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Our new poll system has a randomize options setting which was inadvertently selected in setting this one up, I've updated it so maintain numerical order.