Source: Sherman Publications

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‘Someone has to stand up for us’
Some still bailing out after county drain fails again

by David Fleet

July 10, 2013

Goodrich- An intense summer rain, flooded basements and an overwhelmed, dilapidated, century-old county drain has sparked the ire of many village residents.

"The situation is dire, not just for me, but for the future of the village as well," said Terese Allen, a Ridge Road resident who is experiencing flooding in the lower level of her home for now a third time since 2011 after the Wheelock and Watkins drain failed.

"You should be taking every precaution to protect us—if every homeowner affected by this drain walked away, a large portion of the village would be gone."

Allen and other residents pleaded with the village council on Monday night to jump start the Genesee County Drain Commission on repairs to the Wheelock and Watkins drain. The agricultural drain, built in 1897, encompasses a large section of the village and impacts about 118 residents. In 1996, the village administration filed a resolution with the county to update and redirect the drain, but the project never moved forward due to a lack of easements received by the county.

However, in a special meeting on April 9 at the village offices, a board of deter-mination comprised of Richfield Township Supervisor Joseph Madore, Mundy Township Supervisor David Guigear and Argentine Township Supervisor Robert Cole voted 3-0 to move forward an upgrade to the Wheelock and Watkins drain.

However, Susanne Kubic, drain engineer for the Genesee County Drain Commission, said that it could take three to four years before the drain work would start.

"The next step is a study and an extensive survey of the drain area," she said. "There may be several options for the new drain providing possible solutions. There are many factors to consider and it may also include extending the drain. The engineering process will allow for feedback from the public and input from the Genesee County Drain Commissioner."

A correspondence from Kubic states the county is waiting for an engineering report from the firm Fleis and Venderbrink before approval of field work can begin.

Waiting for engineering reports is not going to stop the water flowing into residents' basements, added Allen.

"I know the council would say it's out of their hands," she said. "But it's getting worse. I've documented 11 homes within the drain area that were impacted."

Allen asked that Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright attend the Aug.12 village council meeting. Meanwhile, residents wait for answers.

Caitlin and John Pavlick purchased a small, older village home on Seneca Street in December 2011.

"It's our first home together after we were married," said Caitlin. "Then on May 4, 2012, the Wheelock and Watkins drain, which runs past our home, was overloaded after a heavy rain. Water came up through the floor drain in our basement and through the washtub. But that was not the worst. On June 27 the drain backed up again and we had eight feet of water in the basement—floor to ceiling. Water came up to the main floor of our home. It caved in the foundation of the basement wall. My insurance will not cover it either since the water came from the outside. We pumped out the water and cleaned, but it still smells. My neighbor also had water in her basement."

Caitlin and John can't wait years to have the problem resolved.

"We need help," she said. "Someone has to stand up for us. We have tried for more than a year to get the problem resolved, but it just falls on deaf ears. I could pay all the repairs to our home, but it's just going to happen next year. It's like no one cares."