PARKERSBURG - A 16th Street resident says her home is slowly being washed away by stormwater and is asking the city for help.
Patty Verderose, 73, of 2025 16th St. says she has been fighting for more than two years to have a city drain replaced near her home. Verderose said the drain has been placed incorrectly and is ineffective, allowing stormwater to erode the foundation of her home.
"The drain is too high," she said. "The water doesn't flow into the drain and it is winding up in my basement."
Photo by Michael Erb
Patty Verderose, 73, of 2025 16th St., says drainage issues have caused the basement of her home to flood multiple times, eroding her foundation and requiring support struts to be put into place to keep the home from collapsing. Verderose has repeatedly asked the city to move a stormwater drain to channel water away from her home, but says nothing has been done.
The drain, in an alley behind Verderose's home, is on the upslope of the alley which dips directly behind her property. Two drains near her garage are not enough to handle the water, she said, and the one higher up has proved completely ineffective.
"It's like a funnel," she said. "The water goes into my garage, under my garage and into my house."
Verderose said after a rain her basement fills with mud and water, and the constant flooding is damaging the foundation of her home.
This summer crews have had to install supports along the walls throughout her basement to keep the house from collapsing. Cracks run throughout the basement walls and the masonry is eroded along the bottom.
Verderose said it will cost about $17,000 to repair the foundation.
"And then what?" she said. "More water will come in."
Vederose said the drain was installed in the late '90s after she complained about her basement flooding, but officials at the time ignored her request to have the drain installed at a different location in the alley.
Verderose said when she complained again she was told by city officials she "built in the wrong place" and that due to its location there is little she can do. Verderose bought the house in 1993 and said there was no indication of issues at that time.
"We were in the middle of a drought," she said. "I had no idea there would be issues."
When she first noticed water in the basement, Verderose hired a contractor to install a drainage pipe to help move the water, but she said the work was done incorrectly. The contractor redid the work but she said that work too was done incorrectly and proved ineffective.
She eventually took them to court to refund the $1,500 she had paid. She recently filed a complaint on the contractor through the West Virginia state attorney general.
She has spent $1,000 to create a retaining wall along one edge of a neighbor's property to keep water from his yard coming into her yard, but said it has not worked. She spent $500 to put in a stone trench along the line between her yard and another neighbor's property, but that too has not seemed to slow down the water.
"It's frustrating," she said.
Verderose said she is asking the city to look at the drainage situation in the alley to see what can be done either by moving the drain or taking other steps.
"I want them to do something to not have this water run down into my house," she said.
Mayor Bob Newell said he has asked a city surveyor and city engineer to look at the problem, but said there likely is little the city will be able to do.
"When we get those calls we look into them all," he said. "Typically it's not our problem, but if it is our issue with stormwater we will take responsibility. We have in the past built whole systems to address stormwater problems."
Newell said with this summer being an especially rainy one, the city has received more complaints about flooding and runoff.
"This has been a very rainy summer, and we've had some very significant rain at times and there is no city stormwater system designed to handle that," he said, noting the stormwater system can handle about an inch of rain an hour and some of the summer downpours have dumped as much as 2.5 inches of rain on the city in less than an hour.
"We've had several people who've called about water in their basement, and sometimes they just live at the bottom of a hill."