East Lansing aims to address flooding issues

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:56 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A city that dealt with massive flooding a year ago is making progress toward preventing a repeat.

It was a once-in-140-year storm that caused the flooding in East Lansing in August of 2021. East Lansing’s sewer and wastewater systems were not up to the challenge the storm presented.

That’s the conclusion of a report prepared for the city by a company called Tetra Tech.

“Our design standards are for a 10-year storm event, it’s a 10-year, one-hour storm event,” said Nicole McPherson, acting East Lansing Public Works director

The city was in the middle of replacing the sewer system in the Glencairn neighborhood when the storm hit. That’s why the city ordered the investigation and report.

“The city council wanted assurance that nothing that the contractor was doing had impacted more flooding being in that neighborhood,” said McPherson.

East Lansing was already increasing the sewer size at the time. A project that should help with future storms.

“We upgraded the existing combined sewer within that neighborhood from a 36-inch sewer to in some cases a 54-inch sewer,” said McPherson.

But the system is built for a more common storm; one that can withstand a 10-year storm.

“In this area, and the older part of East Lansing, we still have a combined sewer system,” said McPherson.

The repairs will help prevent flooding for smaller storms, but it still won’t be able to withstand the 140-year storm the area had last August 2021.

The full 116-page report from Tetra Tech can be read here.

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