When it rains, it floods, for some

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Hawkins Drive resident expresses concerns

By Amber Coulter

Some residents in Elizabethtown are tired of flooding they say has always been a problem but has gotten progressively worse over the years.


Chuck Dever said he knew when he bought his home that flooding could be a problem, but this is the first year rainwater has entered his house.

In 1997, water entered his basement because rain caused the sewer to back up and water got into his garage.

Dever said he wasn’t happy about the situation, but he didn’t complain to city officials because he considered the problem the result of living on Hawkins Drive.

Since then, he has seen development around his house and the house he bought on Norwood Drive, including residential properties and capping an old landfill with asphalt.

Dever said changes to the landscape now send more rain than ever toward the houses he owns.

Finally, the 16.29 inches of rain in April recorded by the Kentucky Mesonet weather station in Cecilia and 7.95 inches so far in May caused both of his houses to flood.

Water reached about 4 feet in the basement of his Hawkins Drive house in April and filled the entire basement and reached about 13 inches high on the ground flood in May, Dever said.

That upset Dever enough to approach city council members Monday to express his displeasure and ask whether the city has any plans to fix the problem.

“I know we have a problem, but we’re not trying to solve it,” he said. “I don’t know what to tell you, but I’ll tell you I’m up to here. I’ve had it.”

Dever said Thursday he knows fixing the problem will cost money, but the city needs to do something because officials allowed development that made matters worse.

A friend of Dever joined him at the council meeting to speak about the flooding he observed and throughout the southern part of the city.

He said the area looked like a “big lake” and some vehicles and automobiles were still being affected by water.

Mayor Tim Walker said city officials are sympathetic to the problems faced by people on Hawkins Drive and they have been commissioning studies for years trying to figure out the best way to solve the issue.

Walker said flooding is always an issue in the area, but the extraordinary amount of rain this spring contributed to the problem being worse than it has in the past. It’s rare for storm water plans to account for how to deal with that much water because the issue arises so rarely, he said.

“All we can do is keep looking and keep trying to figure out what the solution might be,” he said.

The city’s plan to ease flooding troubles in that area includes ditch improvements, new culverts and methods that will allow water to flow out of the retention basin there faster than it currently is, said Robert Bush, director of storm water management.

The changes require about $375,000 to move utilities, which officials will begin working into the budget this coming year. Even if money was not an issue, the scope of the work means it still would take years to complete, Bush said.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com