DETROIT (WWJ) – Thousands of Metro Detroiters are getting their bearings following historic storms that hit the area, and now, the finger-pointing begins.

Retiree Mike Muholland, who worked at the Detroit Water and Sewerage department for 29 years and is current President of Local 207, admits the record rainfall was rare.

“I looked at it and I thought, ‘the chickens have come home to roost,’ we’ve been telling them you just can’t run a sewage plant with a skeleton crew and lack of maintenance,” Muholland told WWJ’s Stephanie Davis.

However, water department officials say the system worked exactly as it was designed to – the day of torrential rains – which they say just overwhelmed the system.

But Muholland questions the staffing levels at the water department and its maintenance schedule.

“It’s important for them to plan for emergencies and have pumps that work and have staff available to do the job,” he said.  “They’ve got a skeleton crew on mid-nights and half of those people called in because they could not get there.”

Water department officials note that while there has been a reduction in staff – the maintenance schedule has not changed and they have instituted overtime to keep up with the regular maintenance checks.

While MDOT officials say copper piping stolen from pumping stations used to clear water from the freeways might have been a contributing factor in this week’s major highway flooding.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Cross said the copper piping had been stolen from several pumping stations — but MDOT didn’t know about the thefts until going in to pump the water after Monday’s torrential storms.



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