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Hyde Park homeowners seek 'permanent' fix to 'frustrating' flooding problems

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 19:56:51-04

CINCINNATI — When heavy rain starts, so does anxiety.

Just ask Hyde Park resident Adam Bankovich.

"We went in our basement and, sure enough, the storm drain had exploded, hitting the ceiling, which is about 9 feet ceiling down there, and then it just kept bubbling up. Shop vac was full," he told WCPO Thursday.

Bankovich said it's not the first time rainwater and sewage have overflowed into his home. Last year, it flooded three times and once before that in 2016.

"It's super frustrating," he said. "The claims process is just hours, weeks, months of our time that we can't get back."

According to the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, the agency received more than 400 reports of "possible sewer backs" in the last 24 hours since Wednesday night's torrential rains.

Nine of those were on Astoria Avenue, an area with a history of flooding.

MSD had already installed sewer-backup prevention at two homes on that block, with eight more — including the Bankovich's — still in line.

But he said he's been waiting for more than a year.

"It's frustrating; it's maddening," he said. "Everyone is doing their best, and we're just living through it, but every single time it happens it's invasive to our home and our comfort to our home."

A few blocks over, resident Nick McKee said the feeling is mutual.

"The anxiety we feel from the second there is rain that is absurdly heavy is there constantly, and then it's a mad dash to get as many things up out of the basement as we can," he said.

McKee said his sewer drain has backed up into his yard, rising about two feet, and his basement and garage are also flooded.

He said he wants a permanent fix.

"What they have with respect to the claims system is a Band-Aid instead of a real solution," he said. "And if you pay the claims, it may be cheaper than the billions of dollars it costs to fix it.

"But maybe the billions of dollars it costs to fix it is what they need to do."