Eastern Michigan University
Environmental Health & Safety
While the EMU main campus is not at high risk from flooding, it is important to be familiar with these procedures in the event you are at an EMU activity, field location, etc. that is in an area susceptible to flooding.
Flooding can occur in both rural and urban areas and can be caused by unusual weather events or structural failures. Most flooding occurs in floodplains (or low-lying areas prone to frequent flooding) after prolonged rainfall lasting over several days. However flooding can also occur in a short period of time with intense rainfall or when streams and rivers leave their banks due to significant upstream rainfall.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issues several statements to notify the general public of potential and imminent weather-related hazards. These advisories are typically posted and announced on television, radio and internet and are specific to individual counties. Departments should have a portable radio available and listen to the local station (WEMU 89.1 FM) for watches/warning issued for the area. The following watches/warnings may be issued:
Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory
Alerts the public to flooding which is generally only an inconvenience and does not pose a threat to life and/or property. Issued when heavy rain will cause flooding of streets and low-lying places in urban areas, or if small rural or urban streams are expected to reach or exceed banks.
Flash Flood Watch
A Flash Flood Watch indicates that flash flooding is possible in and close to the watch area. Those in the affected area are urged to be ready to take quick action if a flash flood warning is issued or flooding is observed.
Flash Flood Warning
A Flash Flood Warning is a situation when rapid flooding of small rivers, streams, creeks, or urban areas is imminent or currently happening. Very heavy rain that falls in a short time period can lead to flash flooding, depending on local terrain, ground cover, degree of urbanization, degree of man-made changes to river banks, and initial ground or river conditions.
During A Flood Advisory / Watch
1. Listen to the radio or television for information.
2. Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
3. Be aware of streams or other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
During A Flood
1. Indoor Flooding/Leak
- If time permits, move essential items, valuable papers and personal belongings to higher elevations.
- Notify Physical Plant at 734.487.3591 to report the exact location of the flooding/leak and if any objects are in imminent danger.
- If you know the source of the water and are confident you can stop the flooding safely, do so (i.e., turn off valve or unclog drain).
- Notify EMU Public Safety at 734.487.1222. If necessary, evacuate the building.
- Alert occupants on floors beneath the water leak of the potential flooding of their areas. Notify your department head and/or the Building Administrator of any damage as soon as possible.
Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. Electrical equipment should be checked and
dried before being returned to service.
- Do not re-enter the building or work area until you have been instructed to do so by emergency responders.
2. Outdoor Flooding
- Avoid flooded areas and do not attempt to cross areas where water is above your knees.
- Move to higher ground.
- Do not use and avoid contact with electrical devices.
- Remain cautious of high water at night, as darkness may hide other hazards.
- Do not walk through or drink floodwater. Floodwater may contain toxic matter from sewage, industrial chemicals, agricultural by-products and others sources. If you must come into contact with floodwater, wash with soap and clean water as soon as possible after the contact.
3. In a Vehicle
- Listen to the radio or watch television weather broadcasts to keep informed of weather watches or warnings.
- Do not park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
- Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. You can be stranded and trapped.
- If driving, know the depth of the water in a dip before crossing. The road bed may not be intact under the water.
- If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
After A Flood Has Occurred
1. Wait until an area has been declared safe before entering it. Be careful driving, since roads may be damaged and power lines may be down.
2. Do not walk near flooded areas, buildings, etc., unseen dangers such as submerged electrical lines may be present.
3. If walking into a building that has water damage be aware of loose ceiling tiles, unstable door jams and floors, or walls that can cave in.
4. Be aware of broken or leaking gas lines, electrical lines, flammable materials and explosive materials that have been carried down from another area.
5. Do not turn on electrical appliances until an electrician has checked the system and appliances.
6. Do not eat any food, including canned goods, which have come in contact with floodwaters.
7. Be aware of cracked or damaged building foundations prior to entering a building. Be aware of abnormal animal activity. Animals can be disoriented, defensive, or carry diseases.
8. Notify EMU Public Safety at 734.487.1222 of any hazardous situation you observed.
Stormwater Management and Environmental Protection
If you suspect pollution is getting into our storm water drainage systems, there are resources available to you for taking action.
1. Identifying pollution:
- Color and odor are the first signs of pollution. Stormwater water is clear. Any color or odor may be signs of pollution.
- Brown stormwater runoff is usually due to clay and silt sediments which may be coming from a construction site with poor sediment controls in place.
- Any other stormwater runoff color may be traced to a source of waste, illegal discharges or dumping.
- Suds and oily sheens may lead to a source of pollution; or they may indicate a build-up of contaminants from parking lots or land uses with poor housekeeping practices. These are important sources to discover and are often overlooked unless reported during a storm event.
- Floatables or clearly identifiable sewage indicates a cross connection with the sanitary sewer system.
2. If you see pollution, of suspect pollution is entering the storm drainage system, call one of the following environmental reporting lines.
- EMU Public Safety – 734.487.1222
- EMU Physical Plant – 734.487.3591
- City of Ypsilanti – 734.483.1421
- Charter Township of Ypsilanti – 734.484.0073
- Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office- 734.222.3880