Reflections on August 2016
As we approach the fall, my mind reflects back on the end of August, 2016 when many of us in North Avondale suffered from the city sewer backups after a torrential rainstorm. Remember then? Many of us experienced floods in our basements; the water got as high as 4 feet!
I’ve learned some valuable lessons from that time; lessons, which, if shared, may benefit others in case unspeakable storms and floods return.
Lesson #1. Even though you may be overwhelmed with the power of the storm, pull out your camera and take pictures immediately. Insurance companies and Metropolitan
Sewer District (MSD) will want pictures to validate damage and to substantiate that your sewers backed up.
Lesson #2. Call the insurance company and MSD immediately. Complete required forms and submit them in a timely fashion.
Lesson #3. Do NOT use the first clean up company that you find. Vet them. They are all in demand during times like these and some of them may not be reputable. I had an experience with one company who offered me the lowest price and agreed to sign a different amount for the insurance forms in hopes of getting a kick back. (I rejected that company immediately!)
Lesson #4. Once the clean up is done and you have settled down, set up regular drain cleanings to make sure that your drains always stay in good working order. Over time, branches, tree limbs and other debris fall into the drains causing clog ups. Based on where your pipes line up under the ground, sometimes, tree roots block and can even break pipes. Restoration companies can clean your pipes. The latest technology can take pictures so that the source of the issues can be identified.
Lesson #5. Beware of MSD’s common refusal for reimbursement. If you live in a valley or if your property sits at the base of land that slopes, MSD can refuse reimbursement for damages. The typical retort is that your property was damaged due to “overland flooding.” Yes, it makes sense that water will flow to it lowest point; however, flooding can occur if city sewers get backed up causing sewers on your property to back up – a bit more than “overland flooding”. If you appeal MSD’s refusal to pay, make sure you get a lawyer.
Lesson #6. If possible, get drawings of your property showing property lines and showing how your pipes connect with the city pipes. There is a helpful website that can provide useful information: CAGIS (Cincinnati Area Geographical Information system) – a web mapping site that provides public access to underlying geographical data. The site allows one to create customized maps showing property boundaries, ownership, topographical and drainage information.
Kimya Moyo, Health Liaison