Wapak resident's flood concerns rise again

A Wapakoneta resident voiced concerns Monday about flooding in front of his home for the second time in the last decade and wants to know what these city administrators plan to do to alleviate the problem.
Jim Elshire, 314 Dogwood Avenue, addressed Wapakoneta City Council members about the slow drainage of water into his nearby stormwater sewer when rains cause flooding in front of his property.
“I am sure you have heard of the water problems we have in the city, but in front of my house when it rains hard — which has happened five times this year — the street floods and it comes 15 feet up my driveway,” Elshire said. “The last time it rained that hard the water got into my neighbor’s car. I have seen it get as deep as a foot and a half, as deep as a tire on a car.
“The last time it rained I saw two mallard ducks swimming in our front yard and it was then I made the decision to come to the city again,” he
Less than 10 years ago, Elshire brought similar concerns to Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee members when Mayor Don Wittwer was in office.
Elshire said Wittwer told him committee members would take a look at the flooding problem and city administrators showed him stormwater sewer maps of area.
“They know the problem, they said the problem was when it was constructed because between your house and the other end of Dogwood near Murray Street the stormwater sewer gets smaller,” Elshire said. “When it rains, all the water can’t get from the big pipe from your house into the smaller pipe at Murray Street and it backs up.”
He said he wanted answers and what city administrators plan to do about the situation.
He returned Monday to see if a new administration could help with the flooding problem, which often takes approximately 45 minutes to drain.
Councilor-at-large Tom Finkelmeier Jr. said the city should be able to provide additional reasons for the problem and a plan to help alleviate the problem because “to just live with it is not the answer.”
Safety-Service Director Bill Rains said he and Public Works Superintendent Meril Simpson have been reviewing flooding problems throughout the city and have decided on a course of action to help residents in the area near the Wapakoneta Elementary School.
“Meril and his crew have been up there looking at the pipes and they were going to use the root cutter but that wouldn’t be real effective so we are going to foam that,” Rains said, referring to a herbicide that kills the roots which have grown into the pipe. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t kill the roots overnight. It does take some time for the roots to die, to decay and to be flushed away.
“I think that is a first step because we have a tile up there with a lot of tree roots in it,” the city administrator said. “We will gain a little more flow up there. We are better off to kill all the roots and then get a camera in there to get a better evaluation of the tile.”
Rains said he would review the situation with Simpson and with Engineering Department personnel to determine a more detailed course of action.