It was more than rainwater that flooded homes across the metro this summer. Record rainfall overwhelmed drainage and sewer systems in Grandview, forcing sewage back up drains into basements.
"The last time that it flooded, the water went completely up and was pouring out of the front door," explained Megan Crisp, who manages a rental property on East 120th Terrace in Grandview.
The water flooded the home's basement where tenants were living. August's flood was the fourth time since March sewer water entered the home. Each time the property owner repaired drywall and carpet. But after the fourth flood, the management company let the tenants move out.
"It's very frustrating. We lost some really good tenants here," Crisp explained. "The owner has spent thousands of dollars getting the house repaired. It's an endless nightmare for them."
There may be a way to prevent the nightmare. The city of Grandview encourages homeowners to install a backflow, or check, valve on the pipe that connects their property to the city's main sewer line.
Homeowner can apply to have the city pay half the costs, up to $1,000, of installing a backflow valve. It typically costs about $1,500 for the installation.
"They call us up, we send them the instructions, they get three bids from three plumbers, we look at them, we agree on the price, pay half the cost, and we let them go ahead," Public Works Director Dennis Randolph explained the process.
Crisp hired a plumber to install a backflow valve at her property. She's in the process of working with the city for reimbursement. The city hasn't seen a major storm yet to test how Crisp's new valve works.
"The reason why we chose to get the backflow valve installed is because that's our only option, at this point," Crisp admitted.
But she believes the city bears some responsibility. She calls the backflow valve a "bandaid fix" and wonders how well the city maintains its main sewer.
"We've done everything we can do on our side. The rest of it falls back on the city and we just hope they do something about it," Crisp said.
Randolph, from Public Works, explained the city routinely inspects the city's sewer lines. They target areas that saw problems after floods and most recently checked the pipes along East 120th Terrace on August 7.
"We always keep track of sewer complaints when they come in," Randolph said. "And for the last six years, every year we've been doing a study on part of our sewer system with cameras in it, we smoke test it when we look for leaks. Right after we do that, we schedule those places for repair."
In Grandview the pipes that connect a home to the sewer line are considered the homeowner's property and thus it is their responsibility to maintain and repair those pipes.
"When we look at how many houses backed up during the storm compared to the 10,000 connections in the city, it's been a very small amount," Randolph pointed out.
For more information on Grandview's program, contact the public works department at 816-316-4855.