WASHINGTON CITY — With another occurrence of rain-inundated streets and homes this month, many people contend that it’s not just the rain that Washington City has to thank for its flooding tendencies – that the city’s infrastructure, landscape, and drainage system all play their parts – leaving many Washington City residents wanting to know who is going to fix the city’s mess so floods don’t continue to flow into their homes at every heavy downpour.
Paul Jensen, a Washington City resident whose home backs up to the corner of Buena Vista Boulevard and Graham Manor, said that over the last two years the flooding situation has become ridiculous. He said he believes the new Perry Homes development, called Perry Landing, is what has caused the area to flood because of the lack of storm drains to accommodate the rain flow.
“(The new development) turned the desert into just a big flood plain now,” Jensen said, “and it all runs down here. It does not have time to soak in.”
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Video courtesy of Paul Jensen, made Sept. 9, 2014
Jensen said the waters used to flow onto the other side of the highway, Interstate 15, through a 6-foot storm drain before the Buena Vista road was built. But, he said, those drains don’t get used anymore.
“They’re full of tumble weeds because there’s no way for (the water) to get across Buena Vista,” Jensen said. Motioning to areas around his home, he added: “So it all comes down and then they divert it into this vacant property here that belongs to the city – the city does this. And then it all floods out … it comes up and over and it comes down into my property here. It literally goes around my house on both sides.”
Aside from the multiple times the waters have flooded out his landscape, Jensen said, the inside of his home flooded once this year and twice last year and he had to tear out all of his carpet and replace it.
“The city didn’t do anything about it,” he said. “They told me that they were going to take care of it. They said in their City Council meeting last year that the problem was taken care of – that it would never happen again and I thought ‘how could it be taken care of? They didn’t do a thing up here.’ They didn’t address the issue. They didn’t fix anything. They did nothing except pile up dirt and every time they do that, they put piles and piles of dirt and rock along the side of the road and the first storm comes along and wipes it right out; it’s gone.”
Jensen said he talked to the Perry Homes’ engineer last year who told him that they had the problem all taken care of with a containment pound. But Jensen said: “It’s just not doing it.”
To add insult to injury, Jensen said, he went out and filled all his sandbags last year. He said:
Had them all sandbagged around there to keep the water because it comes over the curb – the crown of the street is higher than the curb down here next to the side of my house and so the water comes over the curb, over the sidewalk, and then it comes down in my property – and that’s since they built this new road here. So I put sandbags around there. The city came and removed all my sandbags and now I’m flooded again. They didn’t say anything to me. I just came home one day and some guy was loading them into a dump truck and hauled them off.
According to Washington City’s response to the flooding the city saw on Aug. 18, “these rain events are acts of God.”
The city’s drainage system “worked flawlessly,” until it overflowed, said Mike Shaw, Washington public works director, after heavy rainfall also caused flooding in August.
Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson said in an August interview: “There’s no system that can handle that amount of water. We have the proper infrastructure, but a lot of it just got overwhelmed. It was too much (rain) too soon.”
The city has been improving its drainage system since last summer’s flooding, and will continue to do so, Neilson said.
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Updated 7:39 a.m. to include Paul Jensen video.
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