Walker homeowner flooded with concerns after heavy rain

Posted at 10:21 PM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 22:24:01-04

WALKER, Mich. -- A homeowner in Walker ended up with 4 feet of water in their backyard after heavy rain at the end of August.

It was flood number eight for the Watkins since they built and moved into their home in 1996.   They've spent more than $40,000 in repairs over the years.

They weren't expecting the latest damage to their home because in 2006 they were told that the city fixed their flooding problem.

"They called out city engineers to look at it.  They decided to fix this problem was to tear up the street and reroute the piping," homeowner Tracey Watkins said.  "Four weeks ago it was our first test to see if this was fixed."

Approximately 18,000 gallons later, they knew the new piping wasn't the solution.   Watkins says the easement behind her home just isn't enough.

"If you are out here in that heavy rain, it's just like a big river coming down," Watkins said.

The Watkins installed rubber in their siding, built a wall on their fence and put a sump pump in their back yard; the water still brings damage. The city says it's still the family's fault.

"The first excuse we got is 'This is a 100 year rain.'  So far we've seen that six times," Watkins said.

Walker City Engineer Scot Connors told FOX 17 that the Watkins should have built their home at a higher elevation.   They built the house in the '90s and an inspector had to check their every move.

Connors admits before 2000 builders were responsible for setting the elevations at their own grading plan.  Now, the city will try to flag that.

At one point, the city did take responsibility and try to fix the piping in 2006.   Connors said it's too hard to spend public money on issues that are on private property.

"As this house is right now, we would never be able to sell the house because it would be known as the flood zone," Watkins said.

The Kent County Drain Commissioner has agreed to go out and look at the Watkins' home to see if there's something more that can and should be done.