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City leaders to address flooding concerns in Elyria after recent downpour

08-24-22 ELYRIA FLOODING.jpg
Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 18:14:16-04

ELYRIA, Ohio — Heavy downpours over the weekend led to flooding issues in parts of Elyria and prompted some neighbors to call for future solutions.

No one was injured during the Sunday evening storms, but Elyria officials reported police and fire departments responded to a number of weather-related emergencies, like cars stranded in floodwaters, homes struck by lightning and downed power lines.

By Wednesday, the city’s wastewater department was still fielding calls about the damage left behind from street and basement flooding. Crews responded to more than 80 homes and businesses, some of which flooded due to foundation or drainage issues. Others experienced backup flooding from the extreme weather overwhelming the wastewater system.

“It was a phenomenal amount of rain,” said Terry Korzan, the Superintendent for Wastewater Pollution Control. “The storm sewers and sanitary sewers couldn’t keep up with it all.”

He explained an estimated 3-5 inches of rain fell in some areas in less than an hour Sunday evening, which was among the heaviest downpours he’d seen in his tenure.

Parts of the city’s South Side were the hardest hit by heavy rainfall.

“It had been raining all day. My son looked out the door and called me and said, ‘Mom, it’s flooding,’” recalled Brenda Carter, who lives in Ely Village.

Neighbors there shared video of children playing and debris floating in flooded streets. Carter said the water nearly reached the threshold of her front door.

“I was hoping it wasn’t coming into the house, garbage cans were all on their sides, flooding in my yard, garbage bags - with garbage everywhere in my front yard,” she said.

Carter said parts of the neighborhood often flood during heavy rainfall, but it was the highest she’d ever seen the water rise.

“That was a lot of water and I can’t swim,” she said.

Korzan explained his team is as proactive as it can be when it comes to preventing overflowing storm sewers. He said crews will clear out storm drains monthly and ahead of forecasted heavy rain. They also cycle through a sweep of the entire sewer system over a three year period to prevent buildup and obstructions. Following major storms, the department meets with city leaders to discuss the events.

“Every time we get storms like this, we do a good dissection of what happened to see where it happened, why it happened, how it happened and see what else we can do,” he said.

He explained simply adding larger pipes would create issues with water flow.

“Under normal flow conditions, when people flush their toilets, that stuff is just going to drop into the pipe and stay there,” he said.

The city is planning to build an additional pipeline to handle overflow from excessively wet weather. Korzan expects climate change to bolster a need for longterm solutions.

“All the climatologists are telling us, and as I’ve seen in my 27 years here, the storm events are getting more intense. And it’s predicted to continue in that trend,” he said.

Leaders from Elyria’s Wastewater and Engineering Departments plan to answer residents’ concerns during a virtual roundtable discussion on Wed., Aug. 31 at noon. You can watch live on the city’s Facebook page by clicking on this link.

Residents can submit questions via Facebook messenger or email them to pio@cityofelyria.org.

The wastewater department recommends reporting basement or street flooding as soon as it happens. Residents can call (440) 366-2211 for flood reports and crews will continue to survey damage.

The department also suggests disinfecting any areas in the home affected by floodwater.

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