Metro-East News

Her basement flooded again. Now she wants Granite City to fix its drainage problems.

Flood in Granite City home

A sewer backup damaged a Granite City home's basement on August 12, 2019, during rainstorms. This was one of about 500 homes in the city that suffered some kind of damage from the storms. Lisa Nelan discusses the drainage problem.
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A sewer backup damaged a Granite City home's basement on August 12, 2019, during rainstorms. This was one of about 500 homes in the city that suffered some kind of damage from the storms. Lisa Nelan discusses the drainage problem.

Lisa Nelan, whose basement was flooded with over 3 feet of sewage and rainwater in last week’s storm, has a message for Granite City leaders: Find a fix for the city’s drainage problem.

“This is not a problem that just surfaced,” Nelan said. “This is something that’s been going on for years. We need it fixed very badly.”

Nelan’s home is one of about 500 in the city that received some damage during the storms on Monday, Aug. 12, according to Kathy Moore of Mayor Ed Hagnauer’s office.

The National Weather Service doesn’t have an official measuring station in Granite City but the agency received reports from a resident who said 9 inches fell and another report that said 7.52 inches fell during the storms.

Moore said the city does not have an estimated total of the damage.

Nelan acknowledges that she didn’t expect the city to have a new drainage plan ready so soon after this flood.

But she’s ready to hear what the city intends to do.

“It’s a widespread disaster,” said Nelan, who is a business analyst for a contractor at Scott Air Force Base.

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Lisa Nelan, whose home was damaged by a sewer backup during flooding on Aug. 12, wants Granite City leaders to fix the city’s drainage problem. Mike Koziatek

The City Council will meet Tuesday and Moore said the Aug. 12 flood is expected to be discussed.

Hagnauer could not be reached for comment.

Moore residents can address aldermen during the committee meetings that run from 4:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. when the regular meeting begins.

During the regular meeting, speakers are limited to three minutes and needed to have pre-registered by Thursday. However, residents don’t have to pre-register to speak during the committee meetings, Moore said.

The committee meetings will be at City Hall at 2000 Edison Ave.

Flooded basement and yard

Lisa Nelan and her husband, Kevin, who is a firefighter for Granite City, were greeted with rising water in their basement early Monday morning.

They shot a video that shows the sewer backup flowing up from the toilet in the basement bathroom. Their photos show how their backyard filled with about 5 feet of water.

The Nelans, who have three children, have lived on Fairoaks Drive for 13 years.

About a year ago there was a sewer backup of 1 to 2 inches in their finished basement, but nothing like last week’s storm.

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A sewer backup caused damage in the basement of Lisa and Kevin Nelan in their Granite City home. The city said about 500 homes suffered some kind of damage during storms on Aug. 12. Provided

They are still trying to “wrap their heads around” what happened in their basement.

“We lost 95 percent of its contents, including things from both our childhoods, things from others who are no longer with us,” Lisa Nelan said.

They have been hauling out damaged material to a large trash bin in the driveway with the help of family and friends.

“You don’t understand the extent of the damage until you live it and the emotional toll it has taken on both of us. It’s awful.”

Resource fair

Nearly 380 Granite City residents, including the Nelans, flocked to the town’s high school gym Saturday to get answers about how to deal with the cleanup and repairs to their flood-damaged homes.

The community resource fair was held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Granite City High School at 3148 Fehling Road.

The storms caused damage at the high school but the resource fair was able to be conducted. The first day of school has been delayed until Thursday for Granite City students.

Several city and nonprofit groups manned tables where residents could get information about recovering from the flood.

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About 380 Granite City residents went to a resource fair on Saturday at the town’s high school, where they learned about ways to deal with the flooding that damage about 500 homes on Aug. 12. Mike Koziatek

Moore said the city is waiving building permit fees for flood victims.

Also, she said the city will be vigilant about business that have not previously registered with the city but now want to service flood victims.

“We need to make sure they are on the up and up,” Moore said.

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Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.