Residents in Plaza Towers in Grand Rapids are still unable to return to their homes following an evacuation Saturday due to flooding.
Tom Grant lives in a condo in the building.
He said they first heard the evacuation order over the public address system around 8:00 am.
“They declared an emergency and called for everyone to evacuate,” said Grant. “It seemed like it surprised everybody for some reason.”
The owners of the building held a news conference with city leaders Tuesday to explain why residents were still unable to get back in.
They said they must first pump all the water out of the basement.
Even though they have pumps powerful enough to do that, there is a concern the remaining water outside of the building could then shift the soils that surround a large sanitary sewer line that runs right beneath the floor of the building.
The sewer line services hundreds of thousands of Grand Rapids residents.
City officials say the best solution is to pump out the water in the basement at the same rate the river is falling.
Although it is a slow process, the city says right now it’s the best way to maintain the integrity of the sewer line which they say so far has not been affected by the flooding.
The owners of Plaza Towers say they have structural engineers on hand along with other team members, ready to swoop in when they are allowed to pump the last of the water out.