Duggan discusses flood aid with Biden in northern Michigan

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Central Lake — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan met Saturday with President Joe Biden at an Antrim County cherry farms to discuss the recent flooding in Detroit.

Communities across Metro Detroit, and especially in Wayne County, suffered damage from last weekend's flooding. Some sections of the region as much as 7 inches of rain over a 12-hour period between the night of June 25 and the morning of June 26, prompting an emergency declaration from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that will be in place until July 24.

Whitmer is seeking a presidential declaration of disaster, which requires a review by the Federal Emergency Management Authority to evaluate whether disaster conditions exist. Biden makes the final decision.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks in front of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a press conference at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on June 28, 2021.

Duggan said in a statement he had a chance to show Biden "pictures of the terrible impact of the flood in our area and asked for his help. He understands the urgency and committed his team to move as fast as legally possible on a presidential disaster declaration review as soon as he receives the legal request from the state."

Biden and Duggan became friends and political allies during the Obama administration, when the then-vice president paid visits to Detroit and helped steer some existing federal aid to the financially beleaguered city before and after it declared the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy.

“The president made it clear to his team that he wants to do everything in his power to help the people of Michigan who suffered from this terrible flood," the mayor said.

The damage hit all across the city and Detroit has "never seen anything like it," Duggan said during a Monday press conference.

City officials are investigating the cause of a power failure at a recently upgraded Detroit pumping station during historic weekend flooding that resulted in sewage backups for thousands of homeowners. 

Detroit water officials this week said they are investigating the cause of a two-hour house power failure at the recently upgraded Conner Creek pumping station on the city's east side.

The Great Lakes Water Authority also said it will conduct an internal investigation into multiple electrical issues at two Detroit pumping stations and intends to seek an independent firm to conduct a separate review.

But GLWA Chief Executive Officer Sue McCormick stressed during a Friday update that the two Detroit pump stations "operated as designed" during the "thousand-year rainfall event" that she partially blamed on global warming.

There are nine pump stations in the regional wastewater collection system — four within Detroit's local system, all operated by the regional water authority.

Staff Writer Sarah Rahal contributed.

kbouffard@detroitnews.com