Residents voice concerns over the city sewer system after recent flooding

Flood victims say they just can't catch a break.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 9:50 AM
Updated: Jul 31, 2020 11:28 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Flash flood warnings were of most concern Thursday afternoon on the southside where it's estimated 150 homes had already been impacted by flooding last week.

Those flood victims say they just can't catch a break after the flood, soaking rains since last week's flood they say are holding up their progress, so too is what they feel is a faulty city service.

Jim Hale’s parents’ home was damaged in last week’s flooding. “In three and a half minutes, we went from no water to four feet of water,” Hale said.

With just minutes to spare residents flock to safety, leaving homes behind grabbing what they can.

Those who live here say the city's sewers are to blame.

“I stood and watched the sewers exploding water, like rivers flowing out of there,” Hale said.

City officials with St. Joseph Public Works say sewers simply can't handle this much water at one time.

“There’s just way too much water from floods to handle,” Director of Public Works and Transportation Andy Clements said. “They’re not designed, they never were designed to provide complete flood protection for any part of town, they’re not designed for that.”

That explanation though not sitting well with residents who say the recent rain since the flooding is also flooding out the sewers that is keeping homes from drying out.

“Last night we stood right here and watched the sewers blowing water out of them, just burping water four feet out of the sewer,” Hale said. “It just keeps going.”

City officials say it'll take more than a sewer system to prevent the southside from a future flash flood. The public works director says options are available, but at a cost.

“For flood protection, you build levees, you build basins to hold it,” Clements said. “If we are to look at higher capacity protections, it would probably be something that is locally funded in some fashion and it would have to be funded by the entire community.”

That cost is one, flood victims say they have no intention of paying. they say they simply don't feel responsible.

“If the sewers are jacked up, and they’re not letting the water get out of here, they need to pay,” Hale said.

Since last Monday’s flood, the entire St. Joseph area has seen about 10 to 15 inches of rain.

Saint Joseph
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This week will be much cooler than last week for northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Wind chills Monday morning will be in the teens with the daytime high only getting into the 40s. Current models indicate a slight chance for precipitation Wednesday night into Thursday morning. We have a slight chance to see drizzle overnight Wednesday and flurries and/or light snow possible Thursday morning.
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