More rain, more flooding

Published 10:22 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heavy rains Wednesday brought damage to several more south side homes already facing high costs from previous flood damage.

“We just have an ungodly amount of water in our basement,” said Cathy Cremeans, daughter of homeowner Jim Miller of 2416 South Eighth St. “It’s just unreal today. This is the worst that its been.”

Around 5 p.m. Wednesday, Cremeans and her parents were still working hard to clear the basement of the nearly inch of water covering the floor.

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The water was pouring in through their toilet so quickly that it was necessary for them to pump out a steady stream. This, however, did not even begin to stop the flooding.

“They are suctioning water out with a shop vac,” Cremeans said. “This is terrible.”

The Miller family was not the only ones affected by the rains; people all around the block had the same problems. One homeowner, Betty Belcher, speculated that the city-dug hole in the alley may have been a factor in her basement flooding, something that had never happened before Wednesday.

“It couldn’t just be a coincidence,” she said.

The hole in the Eighth Street alley is one of the extendable backwater valves installed by the city in an attempt to fix sewer problems temporarily. At 5 p.m., the hole was filled with water, and homeowners claimed that it was pouring water into their houses.

Despite the clear problem, Belcher should consider herself one of the fortunate: This was the first time her house has flooded. Cassandra Morgan has had her basement flooded four times this year despite her built in sump pump.

“I think that the city needs to address this situation,” she said. She also said that water was coming up into her basement through drainage holes in the floor and that the flooding was continuous.

Mayor Rich Blankenship searched until this time for collapses and breakages in the sewer system but has yet to find anything.

“We are definitely trying to find a blockage,” he said. “I hope we find a big collapse so we can say ‘hey, let’s fix it’.”

In attempt to alleviate some of the standing water, vacuum trucks were used to suck water from manholes. Blankenship began the process of videoing the sewer system Monday but reported no major damage found.

“We’re checking everything we possibly can,” he said.