DETROIT – The City of Detroit has launched a new program to help residents of flood-prone neighborhoods protect their basements from damage.
Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Water and Sewer Department (DWSD) Director Gary Brown announced the Basement Protection Program on Monday, a program of up to $15 million to help homeowners protect their property during torrential rains by installing a backwater valve and/or sump pump. .
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Owner occupiers and owners in 11 identified neighborhoods are eligible to apply for the program todaywhich is paid for with a portion of the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
“Last year’s massive rainstorm overwhelmed the sewer system and, in turn, identified two areas we need to work on together,” Mayor Duggan said. “First, how can we make the sewer system more climate-resilient and second, in the short term, how can we help homeowners in flood-prone areas protect their property. The Detroit Future Fund has created this opportunity for the Detroiters right now.
The city is willing to pay up to $6,000 per household to protect them from backups, and Mayor Duggan said the program will primarily use Detroit-based contractors.
Who is eligible and how to apply
Owners of single-family homes, two-family apartments and occupied duplexes are eligible if they are in the identified neighborhoods.
The pilot, or phase 1, will launch this spring. This phase will take place in the Aviation Sub and Victoria Park neighborhoods, which were hardest hit by basement backups and flooding during the June 25-26, 2021 rain event, as well as d other storms.
Phase 2, which will begin this summer, will take place in Barton-McFarland, Chadsey Condon, Cornerstone Village, East English Village, Garden View, Jefferson Chalmers, Morningside, Moross-Morang and Warrendale. These neighborhoods were identified based on DWSD service requests for basement backups and claims.
Eight contractors were identified through a request for proposals process, five of which are based in Detroit. The contracts are pending consideration by the city council this month. Each entrepreneur will be assigned a set number of houses in the first phase. Based on satisfaction surveys, DWSD will evaluate contractors and make selections for phase two when work begins in summer 2022.
The menu of personalized services offered to owners includes:
Sewer Lateral Service Line Camera Inspection
Disconnect downspouts and install extensions three feet from the foundation
Install the check valve alone if the secondary collector is in a viable state
Install a sump pump on properties where possible
Install a check valve and sump pump with overflow
How it works and what the program will include
Eligible owners can apply online at www.detroitmi.gov/basementprotection. Once the application is pre-approved, the City of Detroit’s Department of Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environment (BSEED) will perform a courtesy inspection of the home’s conditions and occupancy. Then the licensed plumber will inspect the home and speak with the landlord to suggest the appropriate services, depending on the home and the property.
For all eligible homes, at a minimum, downspouts will be disconnected from the underground drainage system, if not already done, and extensions will be added to direct stormwater to the yard. The plumber will inspect the sewer pipe with a camera to make sure it is in good condition. If the private sewer pipe is collapsed or has a crack or other defect, the homeowner will be required to have it repaired at their own expense before they can proceed with the program.
Backwater valves, also known as non-return valves or non-return valves, restrict the flow of wastewater in only one direction – from the house to the sewer system, preventing wastewater from backing up into the house during major wet weather events. A plumber will install the basement backwater valve on the house’s sewer line. The valve only opens when the sewage leaves the house. For the valve to operate at optimal levels and block sewage backups during rain events, homeowners should not use sinks, drains, toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers during heavy rain events. rainfall to minimize valve opening time.
Sump pumps move water from the lowest point in the basement out of the house. A plumber will dig a hole in the basement floor and install the sump pump. The pump’s valves sense rising water levels and activate when the water pressure threshold is reached, pumping water away from the house via a discharge line. Not all Detroit homes need a sump pump – the plumber’s assessment will determine if a sump pump is necessary.
Deposit required unless income qualifies
The basement protection program is funded by the Detroit Future Fund, which was established by funds approved by the US Congress and President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). No water and sewer rate dollars are used to fund this program.
Approved owner occupiers will be required to pay a deposit of 10% of the total cost to DWSD before the plumber can begin work. The deposit will be waived if the homeowner qualifies for income through the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP). Approved Homeowners are required to pay a 20% deposit for each qualifying home and are not eligible for the waiver.
WRAP is the region’s water accessibility program. Residential households at or below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible. This represents a maximum annual income of $53,000 for a family of four. WRAP offers a monthly bill credit of $25 for up to two years, up to $1,200 for an overdue balance and up to $2,000 in minor plumbing repairs if eligible. Seniors 65 or older, persons with disabilities and veterans receive the $25 monthly water bill credit for life once enrolled.
The first phase will start this spring, the program ends in December 2023
Residents of single-family, two-family and duplex homes in the 11 identified neighborhoods are eligible for coverage of up to 90% of costs, except for exemptions for low-income households. Homeowners can receive up to 80% covered expenses. The program is not available to commercial properties or non-profit organizations.
Phase 1 of the project, considered the pilot project, is currently being offered to property owners in the Victoria Park and Aviation Sub neighborhoods, which were hardest hit during the June 25-26, 2021 rain event and have a history of basement backups during thunderstorms. Phase 1 is expected to start in spring 2022 and end in summer 2022.
Phase 2 of the project is expected to start in July 2022 and end in December 2024 for the other nine eligible neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are based on a history of basement backups and flooding reported to DWSD, and the availability of funding.
How to register
Residents can apply for the program by submitting an online application form at www.detroitmi.gov/basementprotection. Tenants in all 11 neighborhoods must speak with their landlord – only the landlord can apply.
If an eligible owner needs help applying, call DWSD at 313-267-8000 and the Customer Service Specialist will complete the online application on your behalf.
What if I already have a check valve? The basement backup protection program is only intended for the installation of new equipment. Due to the funding source, DWSD cannot reimburse existing backwater valves and/or sump pumps, including the repair of these items.
What about other neighborhoods in Detroit? DWSD recognizes that homeowners across the city have aging infrastructure on their property that can cause basement backups during rainy spells and even on dry days due to clogged or collapsed sewer lines coming from their homes. . They may also encounter burst pipes in the winter. This spring, a warranty service provider will begin offering homeowners a water line and sewer line protection program for a monthly fee of less than $8 per home, significantly reducing their repair or replacement of a broken sewer line on their property. Without this insurance, it can cost upwards of $10,000 to replace a private sewer line.
DWSD has published a Basement Backup and Flooding Manual for all residents which is posted at www.detroitmi.gov/basementprotection. This handbook provides reasons why basements flood, helpful tips, and updates on infrastructure plans from DWSD and the Great Lakes Water Authority. The public can also request that a copy be mailed.
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