July 16, 2019 | Bill Kubota | Detroit Public Television’s One Detroit
Some consider the canals in Detroit’s east side Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood a hidden gem for tourists, but these past few months, Great Lakes water has no trouble finding them.
The boat channels near Ford Park along the Detroit River have been overflowing with this summer’s high water levels.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Lake St. Clair had the highest mean water levels in recorded history, which goes back to 1918.
John Myers lives on Scripps St. with a backyard on the canal. The water that covers the street has receded, but it’s already gotten into his basement. Myers had gotten used to seeing more water in spring, but then the levels would drop.
“In the last two years, it seemed to never really tapering off during the summer like it usually does.”
Sandbags were installed along Myers’s part of the seawall by city volunteers and the Army Corps of Engineers in May, but the water now sits just a few inches from the top.
Meanwhile, sandbagging teams are fortifying more locations along the channels. This week, the city issued an emergency order to install more sandbags and protect those already in place. Part of the problem, Myers said, has to do with the infrastructure.
He said there has been a lot more water than Detroit’s sewer storm system can handle.
Featured Image: The canal behind Scripps Street, Photo by Bill Kubota