Thursday, October 6, 2011

Addressing Basement Flooding with Education, Retention & Insurance

Addressing Basement Flooding with Education, Retention & Insurance

I have attended every public forum afforded me during my run for Council. Unfortunately the forums are structured in such a way to allow for 60 second responses to often complex issues. The following is a more detailed response to the question of the basement sewer backups that affected so many of our neighbors. Events such as the flooding were devastating but also provide an opportunity to educate the public on flood risks, and how to minimize them through the use of sewer back flow valves and sump pumps.

What the city can do: Prepare a map showing relative risk for basement flooding, so residents can determine their own course of action based on their level of risk. Offer local businesses space at city hall to provide information on those products.

Water backs up into basements because the amount of water entering the storm system is greater than the system can move. This water can be managed by mandating low flow gratings on storm drains. This affects the speed at which water enters the system allowing more time for the system to purge. The downside is additional street and parking lot standing water, but water on the pavement beats water in the basement.

What the city can do: Install these grates in higher risk areas. If already installed, monitor them to make sure that they are kept free of debris to help keep standing water to a minimum.

Flood insurance does not cover water coming up from the drain, nor does standard homeowners insurance. However, some companies offer a sewer and drain endorsement that does. Coverage can be expensive, in excess of $5.000, but losses can be far greater than that.

What the city can do: Research which companies offer this insurance and the cost for an average household. Provide this information to the public via the city’s website and the Livonia Observer. Hold a flood “open house” and offer those companies the opportunity to show residents the policies they have to offer.

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