Ann Arbor's footing drain disconnection program was designed to avoid sewer back-ups, like those that caused millions of dollars of damages across metro Detroit last month. The program is currently suspended and three residents sued over the requirement to install sump pumps. Upcoming meetings will outline efforts to resolve issues in homes that have already been disconnected and recommendations for the future of the program will be shared.
A 2013 survey found the majority of homeowners were satisfied with sump pump installations, but about 21 percent of the responses were negative. The objections included water in the basement, frequently needing to replace sump pumps, and damages caused during installation.
Since February Ann Arbor officials have met with homeowners to determine which concerns are related to the program. Wednesday evening at Slauson Middle School city officials will share their plans for fixing problems caused by the program. Engineer Nick Hutchinson says some minor changes should resolve the issue for many homeowners. "Piping that was installed with too many bends in it that created problems, piping maybe should have been slightly larger diameter, those are a couple of examples," Hutchinson says.
Next week's meeting won't address the bigger question of whether the city should restart the program. Hutchinson says a citizen's advisory committee is nearly done with their work on the issue. "Looking at the scientific side of things and what's happened, and also one of the big things that we need our advisory committee to weigh in on is the kind of community values aspect, what's important to the community," he says.
A public meeting on the advisory committee's recommendations is expected to be scheduled for late October or early November.