The severe thunderstorms that wreaked havoc on Southeastern Michigan and Livingston County the weekend of July 19th and 20th also caused serious problems for local municipalities. Overall in Southeast Michigan, about one million people lost power for at least a day, and some for up to 5 days, as a result of the storms which ravaged the region for two nights in a row. It marked the second-highest number of storm-related outages in DTE’s history.
The city of Brighton spent about $50,400 out of its already-tight budget in responding to a series of problems caused by the storms. City Manager Nate Geinzer updated the City Council on the storms’ aftermath at a council study session Thursday night. Geinzer tells WHMI that the high cost of of repairs and other costs incurred as a result of the storms will have to be brought back to council for action at a future session.
In Breaking down the biggest costs, Geinzer said repairs to the pump starter total $15,000; the fee for tree removal services amounts to $12,400; and the cost of overtime for Department of Public Services, city police and other city employees was about $6,400 for 135 overtime hours. He said the most serious thing that went wrong, other than a large portion of the city losing power, was that the Lindbom storm sewer detention basin overflowed, causing the Third St. lift station pumps to lose power. With only 5 generators for the lift stations,
DPW crews had to continually rotate generators to prevent sewers from backing up in homes and businesses. Additionally there was no power at one of the DPW buildings, requiring the garage doors to be opened manually, and some emergency equipment failed. The negatives, Geinzer said, were offset by DPS personnel handling the emergency efficiently, with no customer sewer backups occurring and no one getting injured. City police received 49 calls in just 9 hours for downed trees and wires, fire dept. and ambulance assists, an injury accident and motorist assists.
Geinzer said the city needs to purchase additional generators and bypass pumps, test emergency equipment regularly, do a better job of maintaining the Lindbom storm sewer detention system, make sure generators are available for all city buildings, and establish new standard operating procedures for any emergency that arises at city utility stations. (TT)