Residents demand drain repairs after disaster - WNEM TV 5

Residents demand drain repairs after disaster

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

One community is dealing with the aftermath of the historic flooding that devastated parts of Mid-Michigan back in June.

Those people took the time to organize a special meeting with local and state leaders. They came with a demand they say could avoid future disasters.

June 22 is the day most of them won't soon forget. Many of them lost property like cars and crops. Others lost their entire homes when flood waters from heavy rain overflowed multiple area rivers.

Since then the people who live along the Tebo Ericson drainage ditch have realized there is a problem - the drains are clogged.

"I took the dog out at 10:30 and I went 'awe man. There's water out here.' Never in a million years did I ever, ever dream that an hour later it would be up to my knees in my house and I was just scrambling to get whatever I could," said Kelly Rosenbrock, resident.

She was one of the unlucky ones whose homes were filled with water. Rosenbrock believes the flooding wouldn't have been so bad if the drain wasn't clogged with trees and debris.

She said it's only getting worse.

"Since this has happened we've had several more trees fall in. They are now blocking the ditch so badly that it keeps filling up," Rosenbrock said.

Bay County Drain Commissioner Joe Rivett said he doesn't disagree. The drain does need attention and has not been dug out in decades.

In order for that to happen the law says the residents along the drainage ditch have to create a petition to launch a clean up and foot the bill for the work.

"The law is really clear. I believe the legislature's intent was people have to want the project. They have to request it. They have to petition it," Rivett said.

Rosenbrock and other residents said they never knew they had to request the work  be done and after decades of neglect they don't think they should be the ones to pay for it.

"Maybe a little bit of investigation and inspection. You know, I had no idea until tonight that it had to be a petition and all of these different permits. It was all news to me," Rosenbrock said.

State Rep. Gary Glenn sent a letter to Rivett encouraging him to clean county drains, particularly the Tebo drain, to avoid more flood damage to northern Bay County residents.

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