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Some get help for frequent flooding

March 1, 2012

While Greenfield residents who watch water pour into their backyards from the parking lot of the Greendale water tower will get help from the city, others living near 35th Street and Cold Spring Road and whose were flooded in 2008 will not.

The difference is that the 2008 flooding happened all over the city as a 100-year storm dumped huge amounts of rain onto the city. But the people around the Greendale water tower at about 57th and Upham Avenue have sopping yards all the time after a hard rain.

One house has suffered basement flooding for 20 years, with the father and his daughters even bailing the basement's four feet of water in one instance.

Greenfield's Board of Public Works reviewed how well the city's stormwater system worked or didn't work at 35th and Cold Spring in that 2008 storm and determined on Tuesday that the system did what it was designed to do.

In short, it wasn't designed to handle a severe storm that comes along only once in 100 years. Like the rest of the city, the stormwater system in that area is designed for a 10-year storm.

Cities can't design for a 100-year storm because it would be prohibitively expensive, Richard Sokol, director of neighborhood services, said after the meeting.

But the board did recommend giving a hand to the water tower neighbors. The Common Council is expected on Tuesday to approve a $24,000 expenditure, of which $15,000 would be for curbing to keep the water away from the yards and nearly $9,000 to put a drain in the hardest-hit yard that would drain into the stormwater system.

The money would come from the city's stormwater utility, a fund that everyone pays into quarterly with their sanitary sewer bills.

Greendale won't help with the cost, Sokol said, because the tower was there many years before the homes were.

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