By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Residents living in the 6800 block of Silvery Lane are dealing with the aftermath basements that flooded with sewage Oct. 12.
Department of Public Works Director John Selmi said the cause of the flooding was related to a broken water main. Calls by the residents were made to police in the early morning.
The city has been assisting impacted residents by picking up discarded items at the curb for those who need it.
Selmi said, “investment in aging infrastructure to help reduce the possibility of this type of event from happening again” is needed to prevent future flooding.
During the Oct. 22 City Council meeting, resident Maurice Edwards spoke about the damage to his finished basement which contained an office, bedroom and library.
“We woke up to having over four feet of sewage in our basement, like, everything was floating, and I have a remolded basement,” Edwards said. “I am a veteran as well so I lost of lot of certificates, discharge papers and a lot of items that were extremely priceless.”
A call to the plumber was made after Edwards called his insurance company to make a claim when he was told that the city’s negligence was the reason why the sewer system backed up the way that it did.
“It was definitely a disaster, a shock of course, you know and most of all we lost everything,” he said. “Certain things you really can’t put a price tag on but most of all the smell was horrible of course.
“I had to get my family out of there as soon as possible. We had to stay in a hotel for five days, but during the day I had ServiceMaster Clean come out to mitigate the property and clean it up and everything.”
Edwards said he still has humidifiers in his basement due to the water damage “which definitely did set me back. The basement has been gutted and walls were stripped.”
Mayor Daniel Paletko asked Edwards if he filed a claim with the city in which he said he had, but that he wanted to make sure all the proper documents were completed first.
“I wanted to bring to you attention that this is time sensitive and couldn’t have waited to get fixed,” Edwards said. “We see trucks on our street everyday cleaning out our sewers. Great job on that.”
Paletko asked department heads involved in attendance if they were aware of the flooding because the city didn’t want a similar flooding to happen again, in which they said they were.
During the meeting, Edwards said that he wished the city would have been proactively taking care of the sewers.
“I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in right now, and, of course, it is a struggle with having three smaller children and having to commute them back and fourth to school and get homework done while we’re in a small hotel room,” he said.
Edwards also added that his hot water tank and furnace were damaged, and waiting for those to be installed was “chaos.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])