WILLOWICK, Ohio-- Dozens of frustrated and storm damage weary residents packed the city council meeting at city hall in Willowick, Monday night.
They were hoping to get an update on the storm damage cleanup, flooding and sewage backup caused by pounding rain July 20.
Thousands of homeowners sustained damage. Many had up to three feet of sewage water fill their basements. And they are blaming the city's system.
“Rain is rain,” said Kelly Gilchrist. “However, there’s a lot of things going on in our sewer system. They tied it into the storm system and all of the bad waste sewage flows toward Euclid.”
But there weren’t many answers Monday because of a class action lawsuit filed Friday by homeowners against the city.
At the meeting, the law director announced that no city officials would be permitted to speak about the sewer system due to the pending litigation.
And for every person at the meeting, hundreds more were at home still cleaning up and waiting for the debris to be removed from their tree lawn.
Peggy Enderle said, “They’re working really, really hard but still it is a little disappointing every day to come home and see the warzone.”
The process is painfully slow despite the assistance from 7 other cities.
And with each day concerns are rising about diseases, rats, mosquitoes and mold spores.
Nicole Jukiewicz says her husband’s respiratory system was affected by spores.
“He started wheezing so bad he turned white and I had to take him to the hospital,” said Jukiewicz.
The mayor and city council member say they understand the frustration. Some of their houses were also flooded.
But right now they’re doing the best they can, and with so much damage and so many people in need of help, it’s going to take time.
Their priority is to get the city cleaned up as fast as possible and remove any and all health threats.
They say they will be discussing the sewer system, as well as any other potential factors that may have contributed to the flooding, even if they can’t publicly talk about it right now.
But flood victims are worried.
Some say their homes have had sewage back up in the basements several times in recent years.
They are concerned that one more storm will mean even more of a mess and they’re not sure how much more they can take.
“They’re not fixing it properly, not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. The sewage keeps coming up like the one lady twice in last month. Honestly, I want to move out of Willowick,” said Nicole Jukiewicz.
City leaders say they are still working with Lake County officials attempting to obtain some sort of financial assistance from the state and/or federal government.
They need people to keep calling 211 to register their homes and damage, which is critical to obtaining financial aid.
*Read more on flooding HERE.