East St. Louis experiences major flooding for the first time in some areas

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 17 at 7:38 PM

 (KMOV) -- The mayor in East St. Louis tells News 4 Monday’s flood was unlike any they’ve ever seen before.

The water came so fast and so strong it flooded streets that have never seen high water.

One homeowner said the mess that rushed into her basement came as no surprise.

The homeowner said she’s been in her house for four decades, but in the last ten years, she told us her basement has flooded more than two dozen times.

She’s tried to take her concerns to city hall but says she hasn’t gotten anywhere.

“This stuff smells, it really smells bad,” said Ollie Cunningham, a homeowner on N. 38th.

This black muck the residue left over after water rises up from her sewer line nearly every time it rains.

“Sometimes you could get your boat down here and row your boat it comes up in here,” Cunningham said.

She thinks the sewer drains at the street are not sufficient but she said her concerns about her belongings and her health have not been heard.

“They keep saying they are going to do, going to do, but you don’t see any results,” she said.

“Our sewer system is working,” said Mayor Alvin Parks.

Parks told us a recent sewer rate increase has slowly been helping them clean sewer lines and make much needed repairs.

“To get everything right with the pump stations we are looking another 100 thousand dollars. The money is not an issue,” he said.

The city, he says, simply had too much rain in too little time, flooding streets and overwhelming sewers.

Still, he says he’ll personally taking Cunningham’s basement back up the Public Works department.

Cunningham hopes they hurry up.

“Now I’ve got down here and clean this up and pray that it don’t rain real hard again,” she said. 

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