3 On Your Side: Homeowner says city won't fix drain, ruining new home
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The rain we've seen the last few days is adding to an ongoing problem one Chattanooga woman says is ruining her near brand new home.
She says despite frequent complaints, the city won't fix a drainage problem.
Melanie Newton lives in the Jefferson Heights neighborhood off East Main Street. She says every time a steady rain falls, water floods her yard, collects underneath her house and leaves her with a wet and moldy mess. She says it all stems from a city drain issue, she wants fixed.
"It's not just only an eyesore but it's damaging my home and I really want to stay here because I believe in my community but if this does not stop, I'm going to be forced to look at an alternative," homeowner Melanie Newton says.
About 10 minutes after the rain starts falling, water quickly creeps closer to her house on the corner of Madison and East 17th streets.
"Water gets under the home. We most recently have had to sump pump, most recently it accumulated up to 40 gallons of rain water under the house," Newton says.
She says she's spent around $2,000 out of her own pocket on sandbags and installing this drain around her yard. Now she says personal items inside the house are being ruined by mold blowing up through the vents.
"You can see the mold that's growing on my shoes. It worries me for our health too. It's a brand new home. It's four years old. there is no reason this kind of damage should be happening," Newton says.
Neighbors say the water gets so high, it's dangerous to drive through.
"Last time I did come through when it had rained, it had took the guard underneath my car, pulled it off the car," neighbor Roger White says.
They all point to drainage problems on this corner. Newton and several neighbors have called in complaints to the city several times over the last several months. They say crews do come out and work on it, but say the problem's never fixed.
"The blockage itself was actually inside the bottom of the manhole. On the 27th of August we removed blockage from the line. The culprit was an automobile tire," Public Works Director Lee Norris says.
Newton says she took pictures five days after that where you can see the flooding was back.
"It could be the amount of water going down there is just too much for that size pipe," Norris says.
She's begging the city do make some preventive repairs on the drains before her home is damaged any further.
"I am so frustrated and I am asking for your help that we get this fixed," Newton says.
Public Works says Newton needs to keep calling 311 each time it floods and they will come clean the drain out, but say there's not much more they can do past that at this time.
Newton says she did consult with a lawyer, who told her it would cost her more to sue the city than to make the repairs to her home, so she says she doesn't know what her next move will be.