Metro Detroit residents ready to bid adieu to flood debris

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Huntington Woods – — Sanitation workers continued to tackle piles of stinking, fetid debris left by last week’s storms in several Metro Detroit communities Thursday.

Several residents along tree-shaded blocks of hard-hit Huntington Woods were hopeful that crews were putting a dent in debris they have been looking at for nearly 10 days. Among the sewage-soaked mattresses, mounds of garbage-filled bags, furniture, discarded children’s toys, golf clubs and skis, there was optimism.

“That’s our second load out there,” Richard McMullan said, pointing to the wreckage that included wood paneling he dragged from his basement to the curb.

McMullan’s driveway, backyard and garage were littered with paint cans, exercise equipment, boxes and other items he is still sorting through.

“We are trying to determine what is salvageable,” said McMullan, head of the foreign language department at Birmingham Groves High School. “I had to throw away some really good bedding I brought back from Ireland. That’s where I’m from.

“It rains there,” he chuckled. “We just don’t have basements.”

Lillian and Walter Dean were still drying out the basement of their Lincoln Street home, once filled with 3 feet of water. Their curb still featured bags, wooden crates and stacks of warped record albums.

They estimate their losses and cleaning costs at nearly $20,000. They were smiling Thursday.

“When the garbage crews showed up and started picking up stuff, we went out and cheered them,” said Lillian Dean, adding she saw six trucks working a three-block area throughout the day.

Dean said she has tried to discourage scavengers from picking through the trash on the street.

“I’ve talked to some of them and they don’t realize this stuff is contaminated,” she said.

County health officials continued to suggest residents in all communities where flooding occurred use precautions in the cleaning of their homes and handling of items that have been exposed to sewage water. Advice can be found on the county’s website at

In Detroit, bulk pickup for residents is continuing daily in the aftermath of last week’s flooding and citizens are being asked to leave their items at the curb until the city’s trash contractors or DPW crews can pick it up, according to a press release.

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