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Detroit scrap yards 'flooded by flood victims'

Aerial shot of flooding in metro Detroit on August 12, 2014.
Michigan State Police

The Detroit metro area typically gets around three inches of rain for the month of August. On August 11, the area got more than four inches of rain in one day.

The rain, as you've heard, wrecked things, and two weeks later people are still digging out.

We heard this morning that people are snapping up new appliances at big box stores in the wake of the flood, so you know that means people are also tossing a lot of material.

Amy Haimerl of Crain's Detroit Business checked-in with the scrap yards around metro-Detroit. She found some are hiring overtime workers to keep up with the steady flow of junk.

"We're getting flooded by flood victims," said Nathan Zack, founder of GLE. Those flood victims are bringing in their old washers, dryers, cars, electronic equipment and more. Cities are delivering street signs, posts and pillars, lighting and wiring. Zack is paying his employees overtime to process the material, but they still can't stay ahead. "It's piling up in our facilities," Zack, 33, said last week. "It's still coming in. People are lined up down the road."

The scrap metal, once it's broken down, is worth some money. But Zack points out that the material they're getting is not top quality, and the amount of effort their putting into breaking it down waters down their profit.

"It's not real good material," Zack said. "By the time you're done paying overtime, it's more of a good deed."

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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