Water, Water Everywhere, and City Offers Help with Clean-Up

Friday, February 23, 2018, 7:35 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Above: Sparty doesn’t usually have his back to the river. (Photo by Kepler Domurat-Sousa.)

The Red Cedar River is finally going down, but the misery hasn’t ended for East Lansing residents dealing with flooding in their homes. The City is offering some help with clean-up and is also deploying emergency services personnel and information to help affected residents stay safe. Meanwhile, MSU has closed streets, sidewalks, and constructed sand-filled barriers where parts of campus near the river are seeing significant flooding.

According to a press release from the City of East Lansing, East Lansing’s Department of Public Works (DPW) “will be providing no-fee bulk waste stickers and yellow City trash bags to impacted homes for household items that have been damaged by water (i.e. furniture,
carpeting, etc.; no construction material please).”

From today through March 2, people with proof of residency can go to the DPW office at 1800 E. State Road during regular hours to obtain no-fee stickers and bags. Trash will be picked up on the regular schedule, and bulk items will be picked up on Mondays. (Click here to read about how to put out items for bulk pick-up.) DPW continues to recommend property owners be in touch if they experience flooding in their homes or businesses.

One residential neighborhood in East Lansing is particularly prone to being directly impacted by floods of the Red Cedar River, and that is the Red Cedar Neighborhood. There is flooding there now, and ELPD said yesterday in a press release that “Emergency personnel have made contact with many of the residents in the affected areas of the neighborhood through door-to-door wellness checks.”

Earlier this week, as residents were reporting lakes forming on their properties, ELi asked readers to share photos of water in their yards. Here’s a photo from Joan Ilardo of her yard in Shaw Estates:

Oakwood resident Gina Shireman shared this image of her backyard:

Glencairn residents James Hargreaves and Yana Rozenfeld provided this photo of their front yard:

On campus, the scene along the river is quite dramatic. The weir near the MSU Administration Building, which usually has a thin layer of water flowing over it and ducks hanging around it, is now completely submerged. This photo was taken Wednesday night and shows the scene looking across the river to the Administration Building:

Crews have constructed sand-filled barriers, wrapped in black tarp, around the Administration Building and the Computer Science Building.

The river is now well into Beal Gardens. The scene near the MSU Library is particularly striking at night.

The water has risen quite close to the bridge that goes from the Library to Spartan Stadium.

The MSU Baseball Stadium is sitting in river water.

Near Farm Lane, the water is remarkably close to the Rock and nearby buildings.

Close to Bogue Street, the Clark Construction site for the new Business School building is now partially in the water.

At night, the lights of Spartan Stadium reflect water spilling into the parking lots.

City officials have not called for any evacuations but want people to know that, “In the event that a resident feels that their home is uninhabitable or has concerns for their safety, they are advised to call 911 or seek shelter elsewhere. An American Red Cross shelter has been set up at the Letts Community Center in Lansing, 1220 W. Kalamazoo St. For non-emergency matters related to the current situation, residents can call the East Lansing Police Department at (517) 319-6865.”

ELPD asks people to keep in mind the following safety tips:

  • Do not touch or use electrical devices while in a flooded basement.
  • Do not drive through standing or moving water.
  • Do not attempt to drive down roads that have been barricaded by DPW.
  • Report water over roadways, obstructed catch basins and sewer backups to DPW at (517) 337-9459.

Photos of campus contributed by Jessy Gregg, Kepler Domurat-Sousa, and Alice Dreger.