Flooding Frustrations: North Olmsted Residents Pack Meeting for Answers

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NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio--Angry North Olmsted residents sounded off at city leaders well into the night Thursday, angry about flooded basements from Monday night's severe storms.

Hundreds of enraged residents packed North Olmsted High School to voice their concerns about flooding caused by the storms that damaged homes across the city.

"Do you have any idea what you did to these people out here? Do you have any idea? They have photo albums; they have wedding pictures; they have their little kids' antiques," said one angry resident.

"Hurricane Sandy, I didn't have a drop. In August of 2011, when we got 3 inches of rain, I didn't get a drop in my basement, so what changed?" asked another resident.

City leaders took tough questions from residents who wondered why their basements flooded, and questioned why millions of dollars was spent to create a drainage system to prevent something like this from happening.

North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy said this storm was like none they've ever seen.
"We had very little flooding in Superstorm Sandy. This one was something different. This was something we've never seen before," Mayor Kennedy said.

"Our treatment plant on an average day, handles four and a half million gallons. Monday and Tuesday we had over 56 million gallons," the city engineer told the crowd.

"That's just crazy-- 4.4 inches of rain, but the intensity in that minute, if that would have stayed that hard for sixty minutes, it would have been 10.2 inches of rain in an hour," said the city's assistant service manager.

Kathy Ginley's family lost just about everything in their basement, from furniture to prized possessions, like Beatles' pictures and albums.

"Got out very little. My son has guitars; we got some of those out. His record albums were all ruined, the Beatles White Album, his prized possession, totally lost. The washing machine, the dryer, the furnace, the air conditioning, all totaled," Ginley said.

Like many North Olmsted residents, Kathy still believes this should not have happened.

"The rivers came up. It flowed into the lift stations and into people's basements. It overwhelmed the sanitary systems and everybody flooded," said Brian Blum, superintendent of the city's wastewater treatment facility.

City leaders said their drainage systems are designed to handle strong storms that come around once every ten years. They said storms like Monday night's come around once every 100 years.

Mayor Kennedy said he will see if anything more can be done to improve drainage in the city.

Click for more on this week’s storms.