Town to seek input from affected residents

By Karen Fallon

Of the areas identified in connection to the recent flooding of Aug 2, Merrill Power says his street has not been mentioned even though he and other residents on Hawthorn Crescent suffered major damage.

“I woke up at one thirty in the morning and basically I had a river of sewage running through my house,” said Power. “This is not the first time this has happened…I have been flooded at least five times in the past twelve years.”

The devastation, says Power, who has lived in the same house for twelve years, was once again due to sewage and not rain water.

“I don’t know what to do any more. Who is going to cover my insurance the next time this happens?” he asked.

Power and another resident of Hawthorn Crescent, Diane Deslippe addressed council in respect to a report by Lou Zarlenga director of engineering and infrastructure, regarding a “comprehensive flooding investigation.”

Deslippe says that she had to gut her home at a cost of $18,000 and she explained this is the third time in seven years such an event has occurred.

According to Zarlenga’s report the majority of basement flooding took place in the Monopoly and Crown Ridge subdivisions.

In his report it notes that the scope of the engineering investigation will cover: “basement surveys, topographical surveys, manhole inspections, pumping station inspections, video camera sewer inspections, smoke testing inspections, engineering analysis, reporting.”

In addition, he notes, there will likely be specialized contractors performing smoke testing and video cameras.

Zarlenga recommended that the town hire Dr. Norm Becker of Becker Engineering Group to conduct the investigation at a cost of $173,000, plus HST.

However, councillor Carolyn Davies’ motion to postpone the inspection “until such a time that council has all the required information” needed to make an informed decision was passed by council.

Power says that his own investigation has indicated that the bottom of the outside storm sewer is basically level with his basement.

Mayor Wayne Hurst says the reason the report is being held in abeyance is to enable council to receive input from affected homeowners as to what their concerns are. Then, he added, the “right people” will be brought in to address the issue.

According to the report, the intensity of the rainfall is said to have over taken the carrying capacity of the town’s storm system. This caused surface flooding of roads and other areas. Storm water then entered into the town’s sanitary system through a number of channels leading to water backup in a large number of area basements

The Ontario Clean Water Agency OCWA operates all of the town’s sewage treatment facilities including a large number of pumping stations. OCWA has reported that all systems were operating to full capacity during the rainfall event that resulted in over 4-inches of rainfall in approximately two hours.

Flow reports indicate that the Amherstburg Wastewater Treatment Plant on Sandwich Street South had flows 12 times the normal rate. Also the Boblo Island treatment plant experienced flows 17 times the normal rate. During the storm the electrical power was disrupted, however, the town’s backup generators were activated by OCWA.

Council agreed to notify those affected regarding a special meeting that will be arranged to glean input once it is arranged.

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