FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio (WJW) — Torrential rains on Wednesday night overwhelmed storm sewers in Fairview Park, causing raw sewage to back up into the basements of frustrated homeowners, who say it is a recurring nightmare.
Stephanie Shorts, who lives on West 224th Street told Fox 8 News, “(I) ran down to my basement and it began. It was worse than last time, it went up to my second basement step and there’s no stopping it.”
Longtime residents said that over the past decade, flooding has become a major issue every time there is heavy rain. Homeowners believe the problem is a combination of the magnitude of the storms and debris clogging up the sewer system.
“There’s too much pressure, them not being cleaned, there was a lot of rain in a short amount of time. There are things that can be done to fix it,” Shorts said.
Residents who live on Robinwood Avenue said they noticed last week that raw sewage backed up into a creek that cuts through the neighborhood, which they believe is evidence that the sewer system was already overtaxed before Wednesday’s storm flooded their basements with sewage.
Robinwood resident John Mandula, who is a candidate for Fairview Park City Council said, “The infrastructure is old, it’s aging, it is outdated and, quite frankly, (it) can’t handle the water that we’re getting. It goes from the stormwater into the sanitary, and then everybody backs up with either stormwater or sanitary, or both.”
After a major storm in July caused extensive flooding in Fairview Park, Fox 8 questioned Mayor Patrick Cooney about the problem.
Cooney told Fox 8 News that the city recently purchased equipment that would help clean out the sewers more efficiently. But he also said it would take a while to put a dent in the problem.
On Thursday, Mayor Cooney once again apologized for the problem, which he referred to as “regional flooding.“
However, some residents believe the chronic nature of the flooding in Fairview Park has become the central issue affecting their quality of life.
“Please, you’re going to have to do something about that. We can’t keep living like this, it’s kind of like living in a war zone. This is a home that I own, I pay for. I’m supposed to be able to live in it, not having everything floating in six inches of sewage.”
Homeowners say if the city cannot find a solution, they believe it may be necessary to ask for assistance from the State of Ohio and/or the Federal Government.