Homeowner Stories from the FDD Survey (1)

The City has now published some of its results from its FDD Survey completed in January. As discussed  in an earlier post, the Survey results are appalling, with 26% of homes (107 homes) with previously dry basements having water problems after FDDs.

Of the 44 pages of the Survey summary, there are 33 pages of statements by owners about their experiences with FDDs. They speak for themselves and we are just going to start posting them, without much comment.  There is a lawsuit in preparation to seek a ban on future FDDs and relief for homeowners with FDDs. In the meantime we are publishing the testimony of homeowners to the burdens of FDDs in homes not designed for a sump pump as the primary storm water protection for the home.

Here’s a first comment:

This past year we had to have our pipe to the street fixed because it had become filled with mineral deposits. I was told that this is not common, but it caused flooding around my house on the outside, because the water had no place to go once it discharged into the pipe. It just cascaded like a fountain until someone came out to fix it.

This whole project has been a disaster for me and my family. Our pump runs often and we have worn out six of them since the first installation about 10 years ago. Fortunately I am handy and have been able to replace the pumps by myself. Otherwise I would have spent over $4000 on pumps. Thank goodness for the backup pumps which have saved our butts (and our basement) many, many times when the power goes out or when the main pump fails.

This fiasco has cost me a fortune and I would like to be reimbursed for all of my expenses. I don’t think I should have to sue the city to recover my costs, but I have complained many times and have had no satisfaction. Telling me that I am one of the few that has these kinds of problems does not make me feel any better. Before the installation I had no flooding or sewage backup or any water problems at all. Now every thunderstorm or heavy rain we have to worry.

If you only knew how many nights I had to spend down the basement watching over the pump!  We have had to use bilge pumps from my boat to keep the water level down in heavy rain situations.

City FDD Survey (I): Wet Basements after 26% of Dry-Basement FDDs

The City has released the preliminary results of a survey covering all homes where FDDs have been performed under the mandatory FDDP. The numbers are appalling, including this one: FDDs caused wet basements in 107 of 411 basements that were dry before the owner’s FDD was completed. That is 26%. We’ll discuss that in this post and then cover two other numbers in the next–continued sewage backups in homes with FDDs that had sewage backup problems pre-FDD and survey responses concerning emotional damage from FDDs.


As part of the City’s FDDP Effectiveness Study, OHM and Project Innovations, it’s “public engagement” subcontractor, have now concluded a survey of the post-FDD experiences of over 2,300 homes in Ann Arbor over more than 12 years. Here are three particular points from the preliminary results that stand out:

  • Out of all respondents (a total of 411 homes) who reported having no “flooding/seepage/dampness prior to FDD,” 26% reported that they “experienced flooding/seepage/dampness after FDD” (for a total 107 homes).
  • 39.68% of respondents reported an increase in anxiety.
  • 27.64% who experienced sanitary backups prior to FDDs are still experiencing backups.

Given the above, it’s not clear why the City and OHM have not already discontinued any further study of FDDs. Just on the face of even their raw partial data, the FDD procedure is dangerous to people and property and merits a moratorium, not a study about doing more.

Based on the preliminary survey data, it’s looks as if the City’s solution to 200 residential sewage backups before the FDD Ordinance over 12 years ago has been to create 107 wet basements (and counting) with FDD installations. The survey has not been completely tabulated, but we think it’s likely that survey will show more flooding—well over the number of 200 residences in 2001–while the City proposes to do more.

26% Dry-Basement Flooding Rate

a2underwater has questioned the basic plumbing and physics of FDDs in postings at a2underwater.com.  a skepticism you should now share. Though I am not particularly surprised at a high dry-basement flood rate, 26% is off the charts.

OHM has already endorsed the survey results and said to the CAC that it has 99% confidence in the survey results. The survey is intended as a tool for assessing the the wisdom of FDDs in 18,000 more FDDs in pre-1982 one-family homes in the future.

The 26% dry-basement flood rate strongly implies that if the City-required FDD procedures that have already been performed in 1,834 homes were to be repeated under the FDDP in a mere 5,000 of the remaining dry basements in Ann Arbor, 1,300 of those basements would have water damage. We are sure more than 40% of those residents have had their anxiety level further raised by the FDDP.

So the the first result of the survey, it seems to us, is that FDDs are extraordinarily prone to flooding dry basements and and cause anxiety levels they are willing to report.

FDD programs are one of OHM Advisors big business lines. FDD programs are extremely lucrative sources of revenue for companies that used to make their money digging drains and sewers for cities no longer willing to upgrade infrastructure.

If the City and OHM say that FDDs will remain on the table at the CAC, how would OHM propose that the City do those FDDs without providing a clear warning to the homeowner of the flooding risk and the risk of emotional stress? That wouldn’t be negligence or gross negligence. That would be malice.

Remember, this is a program that already has a long factual record on malice, including the many consistent claims of overbearing tactics by City contractor personnel, the long record of disinformation about the FDDP from the City and its contractors, and a history of “public engagement” in the Target Areas that many people call “divide and conquer.”

Next Post: Sewage Backups and Emotional Distress

City Position: FDDs Are “Home Improvements”

The City Attorney’s Office now says that FDDs are actually “home improvements” that “benefit both the property and the owner.”

The CA’s Office is defending the FDDP and FDDs in writing again. The recent statement is part of an argument to the CAC that the burden of an FDD on the owner is minimal.

The statements come in recent memos from the City Attorney’s Office to the CAC for the FDDP Effectiveness Study, which is still ongoing.

Is your FDD (or your neighbor’s) a “home improvement”? Leave us a comment.