Racine sees spike in reports of backed-up sewers

CREATED May 29, 2014

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RACINE - Heavy rains continue to cause problems in Racine County.  The number of homeowners dealing with backed up sewers has grown in the last two weeks from 30 to nearly 100.

"You know, the sewer back up when it rains and stuff like that and it messes up my clothes and stuff I have on the floor downstairs. It be a mess," said Floyd Hayes who has dealt with a sewer backup more than once.
Floyd Hayes is spending time in the sun today, but he's always got an eye to the sky.
"So when it rains, do you feel nervous?" we asked.
"Yes, you know, especially when it rains hard," said Hayes.
The last time it did, Hayes lost a lot. So did a number of others in Racine. They met with city officials Wednesday night.
"People were frustrated last night of course because they lost 5, 10, $20,000 of furnaces, water heaters, children's toys, carpeting," said Keith Haas, general manager of Racine's Water and Wastewater Utilities.
Haas says on May 12, up to four inches of rain fell fast, backing up sewers in areas that have never before had water issues.
Racine's been working on various issues with the sewer system since the year 2000 and has done a few studies to try to make it better.
"We've eliminated a lot of basement backups in many neighborhoods and there's a project on the books and the first priority project in this $200 million plan tends to be in the neighborhood here along Spring Street," said Haas.
A number of homes in Racine were built prior to 1960 when foundation drains drained to the sanitary sewer system. A study back in 2009 suggested that homeowners disconnect those foundation drains and instead, install sump pumps.