Flooding From Heavy Rainfalls or Snow & Icemelt

As a rule of thumb, excess storm water on most streets and properties within the city should drain within one hour of an average rain or snowmelt event. If you experience flooding or suspect a problem with drainage on your property or within your neighborhood, first follow the steps outlined below (How You Can Help Reduce Flooding). If overland flooding continues after these actions are taken, contact the Water Reclamation Facility  phone number at 989-837-3500 for assistance.

Newer Subdivision Detention Basins

Some newer subdivisions in Midland are designed to allow water to temporarily collect on the street after a heavy precipitation event. In these areas, the street acts as a detention basin, storing water until the underground storm sewer system has sufficient room to allow for the excess runoff. Water collected on streets in these subdivisions should clear within one hour of an average rainfall or snowmelt event.

If sufficient drainage does not occur within this time frame, refer to the steps below to help alleviate the problem. If overland flooding continues after these actions are taken, contact the Water Reclamation Facility phone number at 989-837-3500 for assistance.

How You Can Help Reduce Flooding

Flood-Proofing Your Property

There are tasks around the yard and home that, when done on a routine basis, help prevent storm sewer backups and overland flooding:

  • Clean gutters, downspouts and roof drains of leaves and seeds, and inspect and reconnect or replace any broken or damaged downspouts.
  • Keep grass clippings and branches from accumulating in ditches or streams on or near your property. Such debris can plug waterways and keep water from draining properly during rainstorms and snowmelt. State law prohibits dumping or throwing anything into ditches or streams. Call the City Engineering Department at 989-837-3348 for assistance with major blockages such as downed trees or if you see dumping or debris in ditches or streams.
  • Replace eroded or settled soil around the home to maintain a positive slope away from foundations.
  • Keep the water away from your home or building by re-grading your lot or by building a small floodwall or earthen berm. These methods work if your lot is large enough, if flooding is not too deep and if your property is not in the floodway. Contact the City Building Department for more information on this subject at 989-837-3383.
  • Make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get more than two feet deep. Any alteration to your building or land requires a permit from the Building Department. It’s best to check with the department before beginning any building or land-modifying projects by calling 989-837-3383.
  • Streams, rivers, and other tributaries are important components of the storm sewer system. Keeping them free of restrictions and garbage is important to maintaining an effective flow of water.

Catch Basins

While City crews clear off street drains (catch basins) on a routine basis, leaves and other debris can quickly accumulate between scheduled maintenance. Here are some steps you can take to help maintain catch basins near your property:

  • Commit to checking catch basins near your home or building periodically and clearing away debris, snow and ice. This will help snowmelt and rainwater drain quickly and easily and minimize street flooding.
  • Do not rake leaves, grass or other debris into the street except during the City's fall leaf collection program.
  • Do not dispose of chemicals or yard waste into catch basins, including oil, paint, anti-freeze and paint thinner. These materials will accumulate over time and cause blockages, kill aquatic life and vegetation and contribute to the pollution of lakes and streams.
  • In the event of street flooding, never remove manhole covers. This is dangerous and could result in personal injury. Unauthorized removal of a manhole cover is prohibited by city ordinance. If a sanitary sewer manhole cover is lifted, it will increase water entering the sanitary sewer system and cause otherwise avoidable sewer backups into basements.
  • Report all manhole covers that are missing or offset by calling the Water Reclamation Facility at 989-837-3500.

Please visit the Planning Department's Floodplain Information page for more information.