Residents cleaning up after heavy rains cause flooding across Northeast Ohio

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NORTHEAST OHIO (WJW) — From Chagrin Falls to Parma, storms and heavy weekend rains caused problems for homeowners as the state remains under a stay-at-home order.

“The rainfall that we had last night was like taking a pot of coffee and just literally dumping the entire pot into a cup and of course you know what happens, it spills all over the place because there’s just nowhere for that coffee to go,” explained Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer’s Manager of Community and Media Relations, Jean Smith.

Alan Grieger has lived in his Parma home since 1976. 

“My whole backyard is just loaded with leaves, I’ve got two patios both of them are completely full of mud. Where the hot tub is I can’t get to the hot tub because obviously you know I’ve got to clean off all of the mud first, and yeah this is the worst I’ve seen it,” he said.

He said it’s overflowed about 12 times before in his area. 

“There’s a crick in the back that drains the whole hill back there from State Rd,” said Grieger.

He said there is a cover over the pipe that the creek empties into that can plug up with twigs and branches causing an overflow.

The City of Parma said they are working with other impacted areas to understand the scope of the damage and share ways to handle the flood damage.

The mayor, other officials and service crews were out in the community since the early morning and have been getting reports from council members concerning their wards.

The storm waters also caused a public health concern in Lake Erie at Edgewater Beach. Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer issued a public advisory early Sunday morning after stormwater combined with raw sewage caused an overflow into the lake.

They urge visitors, especially children, the elderly and those who are ill to avoid contact with the water and debris.

“Our region has experienced many strong storms in recent years, an ongoing trend that we will see more of in the future,” said Director of Watershed Programs Frank Greenland. “CSOs, along with flooding and streambank erosion, all impact water quality throughout our region. Fortunately, the Sewer District is developing a regional solution to manage these sizeable issues and protect our region’s greatest natural resource: Lake Erie.”

“We’ve invested $5 Billion dollars, in sewer investment to really prevent the amount of overflow that’s going into the environment,” said Smith.

They say there will be a significant reduction by 2035.

In addition to increased capacity at the Sewer District’s three wastewater treatment plants, Project Clean Lake will include the construction of large storage tunnels designed to capture combined sewage and convey it to a treatment plant for full treatment.

The City of Parma issued the following statement to FOX 8:

“The heavy rains last night that caused basement flooding for many residents not only impacted Parma but communities throughout Northeast Ohio. Mayors and city officials from Parma Heights, Middleburg Heights and North Royalton have been in contact with each other to understand the scope of the damage and share the best ways to handle the flood damage within their cities.

Last night, the Parma Fire Department received more than 50 calls. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries.

Since early this morning, the mayor, the service director and service crew members have been out in the community. Also, city leaders have been in contact with council members all day and will continue to receive reports from them about their wards. The mayor and service director appreciate the council members’ reports, which are helping the city assess the damage.

Additionally, service crews are clearing headwalls today that became blocked with flood debris from last night’s storm.

Starting this Monday and throughout the week, Service Department crews will pick up flood-damaged bulk items placed on tree lawns.

Flooding at any time is stressful, but for it to occur during a pandemic is particularly challenging. This is a difficult time for Parma and Northeast Ohio residents. City leaders are asking for everyone’s patience and cooperation as they work through this. City leaders will continue to be in contact with residents.”

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