Poland Village discusses potential solutions in response to historic flooding
By Jessica Hardin
For several residents of Water Street, the historic Aug. 10 rain did not simply cause water damage – it flooded basements with raw sewage.
After Karen Stare pumped the contaminated water from her basement, a black sludge was left behind, destroying many items in her basement. “We had to throw out all the wedding centerpieces we were working on for my daughter’s Sept. 22 wedding,” she said.
“The smell of the house was horrible,” she said, “We wore gloves, masks and boots and still we got sick.”
Village Mayor Tim Sicafuse relayed solutions proposed at the Mahoning County commissioners meeting in Poland Township Monday. He said Joe DeSantis, who works in the county sanitary department, encouraged participation in a program that would help residents purchase valves.
“[The county] will reimburse you for up to half of the cost of the $2,500,” Mayor Sicafuse said.
But Sandy Massey said residents have to be home to close the valve before a storm.
“It’s not a perfect solution,” the mayor replied. “You might be helping your house, but all you’re doing is pushing that problem to the neighbor. In my opinion, it’s not a great system. It puts a band-aid on it.”
In terms of systemic changes, the county discussed its plan to line leaky sewer pipes in Poland. The project is slated to commence next spring and will cost $1.7 million.
“They will put a sleeve over the existing system, which stop leaks from occurring,” Sicafuse explained. If the project proceeds according to plan, it could take up to two years to complete.
Those who attended the meeting were dissatisfied with the proposed measures and suspect that a larger problem is causing the historic flooding.
“We’ve encountered that amount of rainfall in that period of time no less than eight times from 1989 till now,” said Dan Green, another resident of the street.
Residents present also voiced frustration that they were not given the opportunity to share their stories with county leaders. Sicafuse agreed to arrange a meeting.
“We can set up a meeting between [DeSantis], elected officials and the commissioners,” he said.
He also urged residents to support the passage of a storm water utility. A monthly addition to Poland Village residents’ water bills would establish a fund that would allow council to address these kinds of issues. The measure was proposed several years ago but was met with resistance by local commercial property owners, according to the mayor.