The Richmond Register

July 28, 2013

Drainage issues cause ‘catch-22’ for city, resident

By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Yellow sandbags and a roughly 2-feet deep ditch surround Jennifer Hall’s residence on Walnut Street. Evidence of the flood waters they held back can be seen throughout her soggy yard in standing puddles.

“The mayor and Jason Hart helped with the ditch and the sandbags,” Hall said. “I’m grateful for what they’ve done for me, but it just isn’t enough.”

With the heavy amount of rain Richmond has received in this year, nearly 33 inches according to the Kentucky Mesonet, Hall has experienced heavy flooding at her property.  She has photographs of water forming a pool around her back deck.

Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said Hall called him to see the damage, and after seeing how bad the flooding was he coordinated with other members of the city government, including Planning Director Jason Hart, to send workers to Hall’s property to install the ditch and sandbags around her house. The ditch was completed more than two months ago, according to Hall.

“Before it (the flooding) was terrible,” Barnes said.

According to Hall, water was flowing under her house and coming up into the house through the floorboards before the ditch and sandbags were in place.

“What we tried to do was just keep the water off of her house,” Barnes said.

Hall said she believed a large portion of the water flooding her yard was coming from the Robinson & Turley brickyard off of North Second Street and uphill of Walnut Street.

The Register attempted to contact Robinson & Turley, but a representative of the company was unavailable for comment at the time. The Register left contact information and a request to speak with a manager about the drainage of the brickyard, but as of Saturday afternoon no contact had been made.

Barnes said the brickyard has been in place longer than Hall’s flooding complaints. He said it may be contributing to the excess water in Hall’s yard, but he said the situation presented “a catch-22” because of the way houses are placed around the lower part of the hill.

“If I move it (the drainage) off of her, I put it on someone else,” Barnes said. “It’s a bad issue, and I don’t know the answer to it, I really don’t.”

Hall said she didn’t know how to approach the problem either, just that she needed whatever help she could get.

“I’m pretty sure I have mold,” Hall said. “I get a really bad cough after it rains.”

Hall said her house only has a small crawlspace allowing access underneath to check for mold, and she couldn’t check because of nerve issues. She said people had told her to call the health department, but she was afraid that she would be left without a place to live if mold was discovered in her house.

She said she’s also concerned about the standing pools of water in her back yard drawing mosquitoes.

Inside her house, Hall said the floors need replaced because of the water they’ve absorbed. She said she attempted to replace the floor in her bathroom, but another flood prevented her from getting the work done, so she put a large rug down on the concrete floor. Her kitchen and bedroom have sustained some minor damage, but she said she’s worried that will change if the rain continues.

“The sandbags have helped to keep the water out of my kitchen,” Hall said, “But I can’t live with sandbags forever.”

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.