City working through flood claims
EVERETT - The claim count keeps growing from the recent urban flooding events, but the city is making progress on those claims.
The count is up to 110 claims as of last week, most coming from hard-hit homeowners in north Everett. City adjusters have visited 85 claim sites so far. In a few cases, the city has cut checks to property owners to make repairs.
Heavy rains on Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 sent backed up sewage into the streets and into people’s basements. The city is taking measures to prevent future flooding including offering sand and bags to the public to make sandbags and fixing blockages in storm water lines. The city soon will be installing backup-blocking backwater valves in many of the affected homes that have filed a claim.
Big piles of sand were dumped in parking lots on Alverson Boulevard across from Legion Park and at the old fire station off Mukilteo Boulevard near Forest Park. Public works director Dave Davis said he sees people loading up sand every day.
The general public can ask for a backwater valve, but they may be put on a waitlist as the city is helping affected properties first. To ask for a backwater valve, the city has an online form on its website or you can e-mail public works at email@example.com or call 425-257-8800.
The city is also encouraging people to build rain gardens and add rain barrels on their property.
A free workshop and walking tour of rain gardens is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 starting at 10 a.m. Meet at Washington Oakes Retirement Center at 1717 Rockefeller Ave. The tour will take people into a north Everett neighborhood where people there built rain gardens in their yards after a freak summer rain storm in 2010 sent sewer water into their basements. City officials say the gardens and other measures are preventing sewage water from reaching their basements.
Starting by early November the city will give homeowners utility bill rebates if they build a rain garden on their property. The city will start selling rain barrels next year.
The city also has a public works crew monitoring the situation.
“It is a long process, but we’re working as fast as we can,” city spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said.
The city doesn’t know yet how much the claims will add up to, city attorney Tim Benedict said last week.
So far, the city has paid out $5,000 to help pay for about four or five claims, Pembroke said last week.
The 2010 incident cost the city $940,254 to cover more than 75 flood claims.
After the 2010 flood, the city built separated storm water and sewer lines in the vicinity to prevent backups and subsequent flooding.
Everett’s combined sewage and storm water pipe system across north Everett is an obsolete design that can’t handle heavy rain, backing up diluted sewage water onto the street when it overflows.
The city is starting another separation project in January called the Sewer “M” project that will separate pipes in 30 blocks north, west and south of Providence’s Colby medical tower. The project is scheduled to be completed by May 2015.
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