Residents want village to help with flooding

Homeowners ask Public Works Board to explore options for preventing stormwater, sewage backups
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

Village of Grafton residents along Green Bay Road voiced their concerns about flood damage from August during the Public Works Board meeting on Monday.

“There was raw sewage in our basement,” resident Richard Jackson told board members.

Seven residents were in attendance at the Village Hall for the meeting, which customarily takes place at the Department of Public Works, because the committee expected a number of people to be in attendance. They previously brought their questions and concerns to the committee last month.

Director of Public Works Amber Thomas said about five homes between Falls Road and Vienna Court were affected from the flood damage that occurred Aug. 27, which produced more than six inches of rain.

Most of the residents filed insurance claims with the village, but Thomas said natural flooding as a result of storms is considered an act of God and is not a covered liability under the village’s insurance policy.

Thomas said some of the residents also filed insurance claims with the county and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which could provide some reimbursement for the damage.

“Our goal is to save your basements,” Utility Supt. Tim Nennig said. “I take it personally when we have to pump out people’s basements.”

He also said the village’s stormwater system is not designed to handle a 100-year storm event and that it is prohibitively expensive to do so.

Over the last few years, residents said they experienced two to three sewage backups in their basements.

Board chairman Tom Krueger said the sanitary and storm sewer systems are not combined.

“When the streets flood, a lot of that rain water gets into the sanitary system,” he said.

The board said the village will conduct a stormwater study in three to four months to determine if additional storm drains at the low point at Falls Road would alleviate future flooding. Thomas said it is unclear if work can be completed by next year because funding has not been set aside in the 2019 budget.

Residents also suggested changing the curbing along the road to divert the excess rainwater, but officials said that would not solve the problem.

They also asked for the village to prepare informational guidelines to instruct residents on handling sewage backups, which the committee agreed to do.

“We promise to keep you updated when the study begins and we will inform you about the results,” Thomas said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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