Parma residents blame constant flooding on city

PARMA, Ohio - Parma residents are fed up with flooding.  

They don't wonder if their homes will flood. Instead, they think, it's just a matter of when.

But they don't live in a designated flood zone. According to them, the flooding is a result of a city issue.

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Crystal Whipkey said Thursday's flooding marks their fourth massive flood in less than nine years. 

"It started shooting up from the drains in the basement like a geyser," she said. 

Whipkey is not alone. Her street, Green Valley Drive, and surrounding streets, are full of people dealing with the similar flooding issues. Carpets were torn up and placed next to garbage cans and on the tree lawns, while rugs laid out to dry. 

"We, like a lot of people in Parma, have learned not to keep anything valuable in our basements," Angel Hohlakis said. 

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Hohlakis said they've spent thousands of dollars on excavating, including a personal storm sewer, but they are are still dealing with flooding.

"We were told by the city the storm sewers are too small to handle the water that comes from this neighborhood. But we've also been told that's our problem," Hohlakis said. 

The City of Parma released the following statement about the flooding:

The downpour was definitely very heavy in Parma last night. We understand the frustrations of the residents that have been affected by this storm. We experienced almost 2.5 inches of rain, most in about a 3-hour period. We understand the frustration of the residents and the city is continuously working to address problem areas.
 
We continue to work with our partners at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and West Creek Conservancy to better solve these issues. Whether fixing culvert pipes, improving storm water management and sanitary sewers or monitoring flow in city creeks, we will continue to attack this problem in our city to find improvements. Additionally, we are working with our partners at Cuyahoga County Public Works on ongoing management and maintenance of our storm systems.

Parma residents have taken the city to court twice in the past six years. They claimed Parma fails to maintain systems and that's what's causing flooding issues.

The cases were dismissed because the city claimed extreme weather was to blame, not the drains. 

"I think the city needs to step up and take some responsibility," Hohlakis said. 

Hohlakis and others said they are still hoping for change, but bracing for the same. Again. 

"Unless we build a hill for our house to go on, nothing is gonna happen," Whipkey said. 

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