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Flooding in Parma leaves residents begging for solutions

Posted at 10:35 PM, May 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 07:02:47-04

It’s a nightmare that never seems to end.

Basement after basement flooded along West Lake Avenue in Parma, and residents on this street are not the only ones.

Flooding in the city of Parma has been a problem for residents for years, one that still has no solution and many are left asking why?

"I hear nothing. Nothing is being done. We've had sewage backups. We have them come out, snake the drains and nothing happens. So whatever they're doing or not doing isn't working,” said Josh Lauderback. "First time home buying, this is a terrible experience."

Lauderback isn’t the only homeowner frustrated with the flooding. Dawn Hood, his neighbor across the street, says she had several inches of water in her basement after Saturday’s storm, a basement that she had just redone.

Hood, who says the same thing happened less than a year ago, has reached out to the city hoping they can fix the problem. But instead of providing her with a solution, they told her something she says they have been telling residents for years.

"The sewer system needs redone because it can't handle the abundance of water. Okay, well that… my grandparents were told that when I was 5-years-old. I'm 43 now. Okay, Parma step up."

Last month News 5 reached out to the city of Parma about the flooding problem.

Mayor Tim Degeeter said at the time they have a few projects in the works to address the flooding. 

He released a statement to News 5 following the recent flooding.

We, along with all city officials, understand this is truly frustrating for homeowners, and crews from the service department and the county were actively responding to flooding issues throughout the weekend and picking up flood-damaged property on residential tree lawns.

 What’s truly frustrating is that there is no quick fix to what is a regional problem.  Locally, we’re attacking this problem systematically.  We’ve invested more than $13 million since 2012 on the maintenance of the sewer system and millions of dollars more on projects such as the reconstruction and replacement of catch basins and headwalls as well as the $2 million Chevrolet Boulevard Basin – an effort that will complemented by the $2.4 million improvement to storm and sanitary lines there.

 The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is working to understand the reasons behind flooding in Parma and in other communities so those issues can be addressed properly.  In the meantime, we’re working to discover what caused the flooding on Saturday that occurred primarily in northeastern Parma.

While these projects may be in the works, residents say they haven’t seen any changes.

On Monday, Ward 6 Councilman Larry Napoli sent the following statement:

Our current administration has been put in the most unenviable position due to inheriting a system so poorly neglected that it will take years to put a dent in improving it.  Our Service Director Brian Higgins and City Engineer Paul Deichmann are both aware of what we face and I have the utmost respect for both of them and those folks working for them and you as well.  I only wish the Directors from years gone by would have had the insight that they possess.
But the mounting issues of:
1.      70 years if neglected pipes in our infrastructure
2.      Damaged and clogged culverts
3.      Crumbled and failing headwalls
4.      Overwhelmed storm and sanitary lines
5.      Increasing impervious surfaces each year
6.      Change in topography from individual home owners with no thought of drainage issues
7.      Insufficient amount of catch basins
Has made their task a difficult one to say the least
So let’s not kid ourselves, these flooding issues will only have a chance to be alleviated if we can tackle more than a couple of issues.
I am hoping that we can work with the proper entities that can get some major capital funds in here to take care of some immediate big tickets items such as added catch basins and repair to major storm sewer systems.
 Bottom line is that………… Nobody should have to live in fear of rainfall!