Heavy rain leads to flooding in Sandy homes despite storm-drain upgrades

Published: Sunday, July 7 2013 5:05 p.m. MDT

Sandy city officials said storm drains functioned correctly after massive amounts of rain flooded six homes Saturday night. The city's storm drain systems were upgraded six years ago, Sandy city spokeswoman Nicole Martin said, and without those improvements, "it could have been a lot worse.

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SANDY — City officials said storm drains functioned correctly after massive amounts of rain flooded six homes Saturday night.

The city's storm drain systems were upgraded six years ago, Sandy city spokeswoman Nicole Martin said, and without those improvements, "it could have been a lot worse." The storm drain systems are "doing what they're intended to do," she said.

Scott Ellis, the city's assistant director of public utilities, said two of the homes on 7985 South have been flooded before, so they added two inlets on that street.

"This system gets overwhelmed here because the landscape is elevated east of here," Ellis said. "The water comes rushing down from 1300 East this way."

That's why the city installed $3 million worth of storm drain infrastructure in the subdivision east of where the flooding occurred, he said.

Ellis said the city made improvements to try to catch the water before it got to the neighborhood and divert it to a pond in High Point Park at 7800 South and 1000 East.

"In this case, the storm was so intense and centered right here that it didn't get into the storm drain system, or if it did, the pipe was full," he said.

Once city offiicials get the storm data, Ellis said they will check the storm intensity and their system.

"We can only build the system to withstand the storm of a certain level," he said.

Brian Giacomo lives down the street and said their flower beds flooded into the street.

"I've never seen it rain that hard in my life as long as I've lived in Utah," he said.

Giacomo called the storm "a freak thing" and said he believes the city did everything it could.

Kristi Gill's family was in the process of packing to move when their house flooded. She said water was coming down their sloped driveway in waves, leaving a few inches of water in their basement and 1 ½ feet of water in her garage.

"The street was flooded in a matter of a few short minutes," Gill said.

Because they had packed some of their possession into boxes, the family was able to get them out of the water quickly, she said. Gill said they told their landlord they were moving two days before the flooding.

"We wanted to look for a house that didn't have a down-sloping (driveway)," she said.

Martin said crews responded quickly and they brought in Utah Disaster Cleanup to help residents whose homes flooded. She said residents have already met with the Risk management manager to work through the claims process.

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

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