DWSD Damage Claims & Sewage Backups


We have experienced an extraordinary rain event on June 25-26, 2021, far beyond the designed capacity of the combined sewer system. The City of Detroit is committed to assisting residents affected by this storm. Please read this information carefully. 

Start the process of cleaning or repairing your home

If you are not a senior resident or a person with a disability, you need to start the process of cleaning your home, removing debris, and sanitizing your basement. And, if you have insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company.

If you still have standing water in your basement that you believe is an immediate health hazard, DWSD will send a city or contractor crew to your location. Please make sure to indicate this on the online form, on the Improve Detroit app (choose "Water in Basement") or when you call 313-267-8000 (Improve Detroit is being used to start the process as it integrates into DWSD's work order system -- verify your location, enter your information, answer questions and upload supporting images). 

If you are a senior or a person with a disability and need help clearing debris from your basement, we have crews and volunteers to assist you. Please indicate if you are a senior and/or a person with a disability on the online form, on the Improve Detroit app (choose "Water in Basement") or when you call DWSD at 313-267-8000.

If you have bulk items from the flood damage, you can put them out immediately. We have several crews on the streets picking up those items as fast as we can. You will not be ticketed for leaving storm-related debris out at your curb.



City-contracted crews have begun emergency cleaning and sanitizing next week for the most vulnerable homeowners, Mayor Mike Duggan announced July 8 at his news briefing. Due to the severity and the need to properly sanitize, it takes several hours at each home. We respectfully ask for your patience as it will likely take 2-3 months to clean and sanitize all the eligible households.

Eligible residents include homeowners with a City poverty tax exemption (Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program, HPTAP) and owners who are age 65 or older, disabled or in a household with children ages 10 and under.  Individuals who are eligible should call 313-267-8000.

Cleanup Process

  • The Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) will send an inspector within 48 hours.
  • The City-hired contractors will do an estimate, and the homeowner will need to sign a waiver.
  • The goal is to make homes safe from health risks, such as sewage and mold, by removing debris, damaged drywall, and tile and to clean and sanitize. Full restoration of damaged areas will have to be submitted to FEMA for possible reimbursement.
  • Contractors are expected to complete cleaning and sanitizing of about 1,000 homes over the next two months.




Detroit landlords are being reminded of their responsibility in moving debris to the curb, cleaning and sanitizing flood-damaged areas in their properties and ensuring that the hot water tank and furnace are working properly.

Starting July 20, BSEED will begin inspections and issue fines for $250 a day to landlords who fail to respond. If you are a renter and the property owner has not made your living conditions safe, call the hotline at 313-267-8000 to file a complaint.

With the Presidential disaster declaration made on July 15:

• Landlords may be reimbursed for clean-up costs and repairs through FEMA

• Renters may be reimbursed for property lost in the flood through FEMA



Flood Cleanup Efforts Continue

City of Detroit officials are reminding residents in flood-damaged areas that crews will continue to pick up debris at the curb, and no blight tickets will be issued in those affected areas. Residents also are encouraged to move vehicles on the street away from large piles.

Cleanup crews include City workers, Advanced Disposal and GFL employees and emergency contractors.


Volunteers Needed


Volunteers are needed to help with the cleanup efforts. If you are willing to help your neighbors clear out flood-damaged items from their home, please click the link below. The City will assist cleaning our debris from homes of senior residents and people with disabilities.

Start the process of filing a claim

The City of Detroit will make every effort to assist residents including helping with possible reimbursement through the federal government. If your property has flood damage, you may be able to get reimbursement. You can file a claim locally with DWSD and the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA).

President Joe Biden issued a disaster declaration for Wayne and Washtenaw counties, including Detroit, which provides assess to FEMA resources for individuals and businesses. Residents and businesses impacted by the June 25-26 flooding can register at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-FEMA (3362) to start the FEMA possible reimbursement process.

If you have called DWSD at 313-267-8000 or filled out the short form online or on a mobile device using Improve Detroit (SeeClickFix) to notify DWSD of your water in basement complaint, you have given DWSD notice that you wish to file a claim and have met the 45-day deadline obligation. You can complete the long claim form online, or when you receive the claim form by mail please complete and return as soon as possible.

If you have not filed a claim with DWSD, click the button below to file by August 9, 2021.

It is very important to document your losses with photos of the flood damage and receipts related to cleaning out your basement and repairs. FEMA provides possible reimbursement based on documented losses from the June 25-26 flooding. If you have insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company immediately.

You may also file a claim with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) by downloading, completing and mailing the form with the supporting documents and photos.

DWSD damage claim information

Under state law, you have 45 days to file a claim with DWSD, which in this case is August 9, 2021. However, this was a historic rainstorm and backups in most cases are not likely due to a local sewer system defect. Please be aware that after you call or submit online to start the claim process, you will be mailed the full DWSD Damage Claim form with instructions to complete and return by mail. You may also complete the long claim form online.

State and City leaders secured a quick disaster declaration

City of Detroit and State of Michigan officials were able to work with FEMA to submit the required assessments within two weeks. President Biden made the disaster declaration on July 15 for Wayne and Washtenaw counties in half the time it was done after the August 2014 flooding.  

By July 31, FEMA is expected to announce what financial resources will be made available to residents and businesses impacted by the June 25-26 flooding.