Champaign holds special meeting to address flooding concerns

More than 200 concerned Champaign residents packed into the Central High School cafeteria on Wednesday to voice their concerns about recent flooding problems.

The special meeting was called by the Champaign City Council to address complaints about flooding in neighborhoods surrounding the Washington Street area.

One resident who lives on Washington Street spoke up and said that this was the first time her toilet had ever overflowed into her basement. However, she said the water was only a couple inches high and she was able to clean it up.

Not all Champaign residents were as lucky. Another Champaign woman said that her basement has flooded every year since she had moved into her house over a decade ago. The water in her basement, she said, would be more than two feet, making it hard to access her laundry machine.

Champaign’s City Engineer Roland White and Alex Nagy from the Department of Public Works, led a PowerPoint presentation to explain why the flooding was happening.

Nagy explained the storm sewer system that existed in the neighborhood, and where the water was supposed to flow. He continued by saying that there has been “a lot of rain in a short period of time” over the past couple of years, which is a major factor in the sewage pipes being clogged.

The “master plan development,” which Nagy said they are working on to fix the flooding problem, will be a $10 million to $15 million project. Nagy said that Champaign Public Works and the city are doing whatever it takes to address the problem.

One method the city is using to clear up blockage of the sewers, Nagy said, is by periodic street sweeping. One resident in the crowd claimed this wasn’t working on his street.

“I live on Hill St.,” said Sean Murphy, a Champaign resident in attendance. “The sewer on our street is on the same side of the street where the street parking is. The sewers aren’t able to get swept because they’re always blocked by cars.”

Murphy went up to the overhead display to show his street on a map where the flooding in his neighborhood was happening.

“I think the water is going the wrong way,” Murphy said, which was followed with applause from the crowd. “There’s some kind of error.”