Residents sound off about flooding frustrations

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email
Edited By Mike Dever - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The August flood has pushed many to their limit, and that much was evident during a Metro Council meeting Wednesday where residents expressed their frustrations about the damage they suffered during the August 4th flooding and the city's response.

Most of the complaints were about the response from MSD and the city after much of the city was left under water. Linda Cain's son's home at 23rd and Maple suffered extensive damage. "My son will lose a tremendous amount of money," she said. "He will never be able to sell his property."

Cain was one of several people that addressed the committee and didn't hold back. She told the panel about what she's heard about the area where her son lives: that it's a bowl of rain. "If this is true," she asked, "why were builders allowed to build new houses on that very corner?"

Felicia Gardner said everything in her basement was destroyed after 18 inches of flood water invaded her basement during the Aug. 4 deluge.

Gardner pleaded for help to cover her losses. "I'm begging you people. The people in the south end. The people in the west end. We work just as hard as you who live in the east end. If any of this occurred in the east end on a daily basis, you all would be doing something about it," Gardner said.

For about an hour, one after another, each person told his or her story. "I suffered $100,000 worth of loses, including automobiles," said Elvis Vaughn. "And in exchange I got a check from FEMA for $96.77."

Ray Pierce, who lives in District 13, wants MSD to do more to prevent future flooding events. "Put a main line down Broadway and separate the ground water from sewer water."

"The combined sewer system is antiquated and something has to be done," said David Hall. "I know we're talking major money. I apologize for that, but as residents, with our investments, something has to be done."

MSD officials tried to offer some advice. For starters, they suggested residents install a backflow valve. MSD Chief Engineer Mark Johnson told the group the company is in the process of "researching those that have multiple losses, those are the areas where we're looking to try to get grant money to do the buyouts."

Another long-term option MSD is considering: adding three controlled basins in west Louisville.  Johnson said those basins can hold a total of 18 million gallons of storm water.

The Metro Council has formed an Ad Hoc Committee to decide next steps, and that could mean more meetings and/or deciding to make some changes and updates to the system.

(Copyright 2009 WAVE-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)