GOSHEN, KY (WAVE) – A is home in ruins, and a family's health is at risk. Now, a mother and her two children have been forced from the home as a result of breathing problems caused by flooding. Oldham County government says it is finally ready to step in and help, although it still is not taking responsibility for what happened.
In April 2012, Shelly Slagel said the water rushed through her window so fast she and her children had to run from the room.
"It was coming in like a raging waterfall," Slagel said.
The fallout forced her out. She had to move in with relatives after she said tests showed mold levels 18 times the norm. It even was growing behind the couch she and her two children were playing on when we first met them a few months ago.
Six floods over eight months damaged the family room, front entrance and garage. Slagel said Oldham County Magistrate Brent Likins initially told her a contractor used by the Oldham County Environmental Authority (OCEA) was responsible. Likins backed off that claim after Slagel filed a lawsuit.
"The evidence is just not there," Likins said, standing outside Slagel's home in early March.
OCEA hired Cleary Construction to replace sewer lines outside Slagel's home in early 2012, right before the flooding that cost her thousands of dollars.
"I'm not the only one affected," Slagel told Likins as her flooding issues were surveyed. "The people next door are also affected and the people behind me."
A report by the contractor's insurance company denied Slagel's claim to cover the damages and her home remains in shambles.
"I'm angry, I'm sad and I don't know what to do," Slagel said of the insurance company's decision.
The insurance company blamed the low elevation of Slagel's house as the reason for the flooding, citing as evidence two small ridges, one built in front of the garage and the other at the top of the driveway.
"So someone has tried to correct the issue by putting a curb here to keep the water from getting into the house," Likins explained to Slagel.
Likins, the former county engineer, walked the new sewer line and said all the ditches were put back the way they were prior to the project. But a copy of video taken by the contractor before construction began shows at least one ditch line on Slagel's side of the street that now appears to be funneling water to her home in a way it wasn't before.
Likins did agree to have the county come out and re-dig some of the ditches to divert water away from the home, something he's promised to do when the weather warms up. He also admitted a clogged sewer drain he found in the construction zone early on appeared to be responsible for the first of Slagel's floods but, he says, not the others.
"Everything is the same as it was 10 years ago, and you're still getting flooded," Likins said. "That means the contractor didn't do it."
Slagel said there's only one explanation.
"They do their project, next thing you know my whole house is being flooded," she said.
Slagel produced a home disclosure filed by the previous owner that showed no leaks after a sump pump was installed in 2011. Likins said people don't always tell the truth on those home disclosures.
Slagel is pushing forward with her lawsuit because the single mom doesn't have the money to fix the damage to her home even after the county fixes the flooding issues outside.
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