Shaker Heights residents surprised to find flooded basements

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio -- About seven Shaker Heights homes were flooded after a Cleveland waterline break on the border between Cleveland and Shaker Heights. The problem was, most of the residents had no idea the flooding had even happened.

Toni Doane, who lives on Kendall right near the break, was one of the first to alert her neighbors there might be a problem. She called her friend to tell him to check his basement. "He says oh my heavens Toni, thank you so much for calling me because yes, I have water in my basement," Doane told WKYC Channel 3's Hilary Golston.

The break created a massive sinkhole at the intersection of Larchmere and Kendall on the Shaker Heights side and Larchmere and E 128th on the Cleveland side.

Shaker Public Works director, Bill Boag told Golston his crews arrived around 8:15 p.m. Saturday night to find a broken Cleveland Water waterline and a massive sinkhole. The water was clogging up the sewer in the area, and in turn flooding neighbors basements on Kendall.

Boag said that while the burden of street repair falls on City of Shaker Heights, the problem was the result of Cleveland Water's waterline.

Alex Margevicius with Cleveland Water wrote Golston about the problem. "Earlier last week, we were working in the same location on a leak, and completed that repair. A joint on the main then failed on Saturday and the main broke again. This later leak undermined pavement at this intersection and caused the large pavement area to collapse. Unfortunately, the subsequent break also washed out the sewer main, and flooding water then backed up into the sewer connections and thereby
into some homes."

Doane complained the water department did not notify residents they would even be turning off the water when the work was performed, ahead of the break. She also says they weren't notified that the break had happened and they should check their basements for flooding.

Margevicius wrote in response. "We attempt to notify whenever it is practical, Hilary. If water is flooding out of a leak bad enough, we will generally shut down as quickly as possible, before notifying customers, to minimize flooding damage. Often times we will employ a strategy of shutting a leak down most of the way, to reduce the flooding damage, but leave one of the
valves open a little bit, to try and supply some water to customers. If the original leak is not too bad, we will make an attempt to walk to the affected homes and notify them before we shut down the main. But this also depends on time of day. We will not wake up folks at 3 am just to notify them water will be shut down."

Boag reports the City of Shaker Heights will help residents impacted by flooding by providing places to dump their damaged goods. City officials will also help direct residents to the proper place to file claims.

Cleveland water wrote it had claims representatives on site, who explained the city's claims process.

The sinkhole can not be repaired until phone lines damaged under the ground have been restored.

Follow WKYC's Hilary Golston on Twitter: @HilaryWKYC


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