DETROIT (AP) — Tons of soil is being removed from a westside Detroit park as part of a storm water retention project to reduce flooding in streets and basements during periods of heavy rainfall.

The project at Rouge Park is expected to capture nearly 100 million gallons of storm water each year, alleviating pressure on the city’s combined sewer system, Detroit Water and Sewerage Deputy Director and Chief Engineer Palencia Mobley said on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

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The system will be designed to capture rain runoff from streets around 1,200 homes. Storm water will be stored in two basins and filter naturally before being discharged into the nearby Rouge River.

Some neighborhoods around the park have endured chronic flooding for years, including in late June when six or more inches of rain fell on the Detroit area in less than 24 hours.

Thousands of basements flooded in the city and across parts of southeastern Michigan. Cars and SUVs stuck in high water were abandoned on flooded freeways and many streets were impassable.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Detroit and other communities.

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Mark Burcicki said his basement and the basements of some of his neighbors adjacent to Rouge Park were among those that flooded.

“The walls are all wet. The wood, we have to redo all that,” he said Wednesday of his basement. “When it’s raining really hard it will flood.”

Burcicki called the retention basin project “a pretty big deal.” “Nobody wants their stuff damaged,” he said.

Construction should start in early 2022 and is expected to be completed within five years. It will include water system and sewer system upgrades.

About 120,000 cubic yards (91,746 cubic meters) of Rouge Park soil will be hauled about 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) and reused at another park along the Detroit River. Reusing instead of disposing the soil will save the water department $80,000, officials said.

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