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Princeton residents ask for action from council

PRINCETON — The skies may have cleared, but some Princeton residents are still dealing with the aftermath of the April 17-18 rains that flooded basements around the city.

About 30 residents attended Monday’s meeting of the Princeton City Council, with 10 of those residents addressing the council about the problems they have experienced, both physically and emotionally, as a result of the heavy rains in April.

Dean Yelm said this is the third time he’s faced a flooding problem in his basement since he moved into the house in 1971. This last time, he had 6 inches of sewage, not surface water, in his basement. He spent the day pumping out his basement.

“It’s disheartening when you are 85 years old and you get up in the morning and you have 6 inches of sewage in your basement,” Yelm said. “if it was just water, I wouldn’t mind it so much.”

Ruth Vohland said she has lived in her house for five years and had sewage in her basement within six -to-eight months of living there. This last time, in April, she had 3 1/2 feet of water and dirt in her basement, coming not just through the sump pumps but also through the back door and a basement window. The water was running like a river in her yard, she said.

Ever since that first time when she got sewage in the basement, she can’t sleep at night when it rains because she hears the drains gurgling, Vohland said. Almost every time it rains, they get some water in the basement. The family has lost a lot of items and has been under a lot of stress due to the flooding problems, she said.

In his comments to the council, John Swanson said he had 4 feet of sewage in his basement as a result of the April 17-18 rain. The water was so forceful it actually blew a small hole into the wall and he lost most everything in the basement, he said.

Tammy Sayler said she and her family are still not living in their house. They had 5 feet of water in the basement, the furnace broke, the foundation blew out and everything was lost. She hasn’t been able to work in three weeks because she runs a business out of her house, Sayler said.

“Something has to be done. This can’t happen again,” Sayler said.

Laura Favia said she came to the council five years ago after a flooding problem in her area. She thought at that time, the council had understood her mental and physical anguish, but she was wrong. The city spent taxpayer money to hire an out-of-state firm to video the city’s storm sewer, which apparently found nothing. The city should have gone to Plan B or Plan C or Plan D at that time to identify the problem and to solve it, she said.

“Now it’s time for action. I’m putting a face to the problem and the face will be mine,” Favia said. “I will attend every council meeting until this problem is solved. I will request for my name to be on the docket at each meeting and the question will be the same: ‘What progress have we made?’ I will keep a log for the next time we flood, and we will flood again, to tell my neighbors the city council is making progress and we need to have patience, or the city council is doing nothing. The choice is yours.”

Also addressing the council were Ernie Whittington, Carolyn Stull, Pete Gartner, Sharlotte Smith and Scott Dall.

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