Man-made issues partly to blame for Wednesday's extreme flooding across Northeast Ohio

Posted at 6:54 PM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 18:58:23-04

Heavy rain played a major part in the serious flooding seen in parts of Northeast Ohio Wednesday night, but experts say urbanization is exacerbating the problem. 

Rainwater temporarily turned streets and parking lots in Brooklyn and Parma into lakes on Wednesday night. 

But according to Bob Gardin, Executive Director of Big Creek Connects,  the flooding near Sam’s Club on Brookpark Rd. was in part due to nearby infrastructure. 

RELATED: Families rescued by boat from Sam's Club parking lot after heavy flooding

Gardin said the Sam’s Club and Walmart were probably built too close to the creek. He also said the nearby bridge compounded the flooding. 

“It’s too low to the stream,” he explained. “So the higher stream level, it ends up backing up and blocking the flow rate.” 

He said Big Creek Connects, a greenway advocacy and watershed stewardship non-profit, is looking into modifying the bridge. 

Gardin said green solutions like disconnecting your downspouts and diverting water into rain gardens could do a lot to prevent this type of flooding from happening again.  

Meanwhile, homeowners in the Cambridge Village Neighborhood of Brecksville have fewer options after years of serious flooding. 

RELATED: PHOTOS: Severe flooding strikes Northeast Ohio

Megan Ronsky said she’d been asking the city for help for her serious flooding problems since 2014. 

Cellphone video shows the floodwaters pouring into her backyard like a waterfall Wednesday night. Ronsky said they’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in damages over the years. 

“The water’s coming to us, it’s not our water that’s flooding us,” Ronsky said. 

According to a 2015 letter from the Brecksville’s City Engineer, the water comes from 75 acres of mostly wooded area within the City of Broadview Heights Corporation Limits.

The city suggested Ronsky construct a retention wall. She paid $8,000 to have one installed but it still didn’t save her home from flooding on Wednesday night. 

The city said that upstream improvements such as a regional stormwater management facility would cost prohibitive. 

Now Ronsky and her neighbors are at a loss for what to do. 

“Why is it acceptable for Brecksville to allow its residents to live like this?” she said. “We can’t sleep at night.” 


News 5 reached out to the City about concerns over the most recent round of flooding but as of Thursday night did not receive a response.