More flooding plagues Union

UNION — Heavy rain that fell in the Miami Valley region Sunday, November 5 totaled an average of three-and-a-half inches, but the City of Union experienced 4.1 inches according to a local weather station and that led to more flooding.

Douglas Carmichael, a resident of Phillipsburg-Union Road, addressed city council Monday about high water on his property. He previously spoke to council about the same issue in July after the city received a localized downpour of 6.34 inches of rain on July 6. During the July downpour Carmichael sustained damage to his property, specifically to a detached garage behind his home, which has never experienced flood damage in the 24 years since it was built.

At Monday night’s meeting Carmichael told council that his property has flooded three times this year.

“That garage has been there 24 years and I have never had this trouble, not even an eighth of an inch, much less a foot,” Carmichael said. “So it has to be our drainage system. It has to be up the road from me because the culvert above me is now clogging up because it can’t handle the water from above or something. I’m not an engineer. I don’t know how everything runs underground, but I’ve never had this trouble and now I’ve got a rushing river running through my back yard. My garage is flooded and it is this far from coming in my house.”

He held up his hand with his thumb and forefinger a few inches apart.

“Something has drastically changed in the last year,” Carmichael stated. “I know these are heavy rainfalls, but we’ve had heavy rainfalls before and I’ve never had any trouble. This last one almost came into the house.”

He said the culvert up the road from his property, which he estimated at five feet deep, was ponded up larger than the city council chamber. The water then flowed downhill to Main Street causing the city to close the intersection of Main Street and Phillipsburg-Union Road.

“My garage filled up within half an hour,” Carmichael said. “It started coming in the door and then it started coming in through the back wall. It was actually getting so high outside that it comes under the siding, up the concrete, under the two by four and it is running under the wall in the back. This is the third time this year, so something has changed.”

Mayor Michael O’Callaghan noted that Carmichael had come before council about his previous flooding problem, at which time the city inspected its storm sewer lines to check for blockages. None were found. Five weeks before the July flooding when about four inches of rain fell, the city discovered a drain up the street to be clogged with corn stalks and all the storm water flowed into residents’ yards.

City personnel inspected all the storm sewer lines after the July rain and all the lines were clear.

The most recent rain flooded the basement of a home across the street from City Manager John Applegate’s home on West Martindale Road with three feet of water and also flooded his own property. The creek to the west of Applegate’s house was overflowing it banks and flooded his yard.

“Never since I have lived there have we ever experienced this, but this year, three times I have had six inches of water running around my buildings, flowing through the fence, and running down Maple Gardens Drive,” Applegate said. “You are definitely right. It is crazy. All I can tell you is that when we check the system it is open. We checked it again and it is open. Nothing has changed that feeds that system.”

Applegate said it boils down to Mother Nature.

“We have had unusual rains, and why, I have no idea,” Applegate said. “It’s just the events that are happening that we have never had before and why it is… I don’t know.”

Applegate said the city is still looking into what can be done to alleviate the problem but stated there currently appears to be no easy answer. He met with engineer Ken Griffiths to try and see what could be done and what it would cost if indeed something can be done.

In the meantime the city is going to take a casting off a manhole located behind Carmichael’s garage to lower it and plans to replace the standard cover equipped with six to eight small holes on top with a grate to allow water to flow into the storm sewer system.

“There is no easy answer when Mother Nature decides to call,” Applegate said. “When it decides to rain, it’s there.”

He added that the city has looked at properties surrounding Carmichael’s and nothing has been done to alter the land to affect the flow of water.

“We have looked at everything and we have checked everything and it is open, but we are trying to figure out if there is a better way that some of the water can be diverted. I told you we would do that and we are looking into it,” Applegate added.

Carmichael asked if Applegate liked the idea of building a retention wall to hold back the water.

“We need to take a look at what that is going to cost,” Applegate replied. “We can’t create a problem for somebody else because the water runs a certain way and you can’t dam it up and force it onto other people’s property, but we are looking at it and I hope we can come up with a solution if there is one.”

By Ron Nunnari

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Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind