Delhi homeowners plagued by flooding weigh options

Parts of Delhi are still cleaning up from a flooding nightmare from a week ago, exacerbated by Monday's round of nasty storms.

People who live there claim new development further up the hill and a lack of green space higher-up is contributing to a messy and dangerous situation. The sewer systems are overwhelmed and every time it rains heavily, they hold their breath and pray their basements don't flood.

"I'm starting to get mold now," said Dennis Oder, as he pointed to a large black area on his garage ceiling and all around the periphery of the garage door. "That black right there, on the ceiling, is mold and that wasn't there before."

A week ago, everything including Oder's '52 Chevy Styleliner Deluxe, was buried underneath nasty, backed-up raw sewage.

"The main beam in the garage, this is exactly what it hit," said Oder as he pointed to damage on his prized classic car. "It floated, floated up and made this dent in the roof, yes.

The water pressure inside the garage and adjoining basement split the door frame leading inside and destroyed the drywall. The walls have been stripped back to their wooden studs.

"My furnace, hot water, everything was completely submerged," he lamented. "Everything."

It even bent the stairs leading up to the first floor, making it impossible to access the flooded basement.

"It was two steps from the kitchen," he said.

Next door, longtime homeowners Charles and Raymele Penley said they can sleep better at night, now that they've made changes to their home.

"This is the basement," said Charles, as he pointed to 8-year-old photographs that depict the stinky, sewer-drenched aftermath in their basement.

"How would you stop that?" Charles asked, pointing to the photo. "There's no way to stop that."

They agreed to let the MSD fill in their driveway and install a sump pump years ago and have slept soundly ever since.

"Once it goes over there we're dead," Charles said pointing to a railing leading over to the basement, where their driveway once stood.

He calls it their moat and if water ever overtakes the wall, it will get into the house.

Luckily, this last round of rain only pushed their mulch around their yard and required only some light sweeping and shoveling to clean-up.

"The pump goes out I might worry," Raymele said.

The Penleys are on the fence about leaving.

"If the price is right," she said, "Maybe."

And just down the street, another neighbor considers selling to the City and MSD.

"The whole street becomes a river," groaned Judy Flaig.

A line of concrete blocks at the top of her driveway, gives her family, at least, some protection, from the rain gathering in the street along Rapid Run Road.

Her sump pump kicks on constantly.

"The water filled-up the reservoir and it kicked-on and it's pumping all of the water out to the street," Flaig said.

The bottom of the drywall-less studs in her basement tell the latest story.

"We used to have walls," she said, which are soaking wet and have been sprayed with an anti-microbial to abate any mold forming.

"This was our flood eight years ago," she said pointing to a line in the concrete block behind her washer. "This was our flood this past week," she said as she pointed to just below that high-water mark.

She raised a family there 23 years, but is opting to surrender her home now that a FEMA grant has come through.

"I'm gonna put a chair up over across the street and sit and have a drink while they're tearing the houses down," she said.

The families who opt to leave, could be out of the neighborhood in a matter of months. Others say the price is not right and they refuse to sell.

They said they'd be willing to stick it out for a few more years, when the entire sewer system will need to be upgraded to meet new federal regulations and that could change everything.

They hope, in the end, it means they can safely stay in the homes they love.

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