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Residents express concern about water seepage

Several residents from the 1900 block of North Second Street expressed major concern about water suddenly, and quickly, seeping into their basements recently at Ironton City Council’s regular meeting on Thursday.

Jim and Lillian Hart, Charles and Therese Carte, Rick and Linda McKnight, and Brian and Debby McClellan, all of the 1900 block of North Second Street, said their basements flooded after nearly two inches of rainfall on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

“I woke up and had eight-to-10 inches of water in my basement,” Rick McKnight said. “This never happened until a line was installed behind my house.”

The line to which McKnight alluded is part of the city’s ongoing Environmental Protection Agency-mandated storm sewer separation project. McKnight said his basement sustained between $16,000-$18,000 worth of damage and left him and the other residents wondering how it happened since other houses’ basements did not flood. McKnight said he called Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship and lauded him for returning the call. Blankenship asked to meet with the residents after the meeting adjourned.

“Why can’t we get answers now?” McKnight asked, to which council president Kevin Waldo responded, “I don’t know the answers or if anyone on this council knows the answers. I was told a pump malfunctioned, but again what that means, I don’t know.”

Brian McClellan said he checked his basement before going to bed around 11 p.m. on that Tuesday and it was dry — at 11:15 water was bubbling out of the drain.

“I have lived there since 1987 and water has never done that,” Brian said. “I had valuable things down there like guns and a hope chest that were destroyed. My wife was crying because she lost things that meant so much to her.”

Jim Hart told council his house was built in 1961 and last week was the first time water has ever gotten into the basement.

“I know the storm water and sewer are supposed to be separated,” he said. “They are not separated. I just want to know what you are going to do to keep this from happening again.”

Therese Carte gave pictures of the damage to council member Craig Harvey for distribution to the rest of council. She said the pictures depicted drywall and carpet that has to be replaced because of the 16 inches of water that entered her basement.

“It came in around the washer and dryer and the air conditioner drain pipe and everywhere,” Therese said. “We don’t want to spend money putting it back together until we know it’s not going to happen again.”

The residents met with Blankenship after the meeting.