CLINTON, Ohio — Clean up continues around Luna Lake in Summit County after as much as four feet of water rushed into homes two weeks ago.
It's an area that's flooded before but according to residents nothing like this since 1978. Some believe the state could have prevented this flooding.
They believe the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which controls the dams around Portage Lakes, was more interested in protecting the million-dollar homes and residents there at the expense of the Luna Lake community. They believe ODNR should have lowered water levels and kept dam gates closed to control the flooding.
After speaking with the Mayor of Clinton and ODNR, they say the events that unfolded were just the “perfect storm," between record rains and multiple backed up waterways leading into Luna Lake.
Scott Rader, who’s lived in the community for 25 years has a hard time accepting that.
"Yeah, we did have a lot of rain up North, but we’ve had a lot of rain up North before and this flood is four to five feet higher than it's ever been. I'd love someone to look into why we got so much water."
Some longtime residents have their own theories of why they got whacked so hard after those storms.
Dan Czartoszewski, who’s been going to the Lake his whole life, and has four homes there, two of which flooded says, "Portage Lakes dumps their water without consideration of anyone downstream."
During last month's council meeting, the Village asked the State to lower water levels in Portage Lakes but was told no. ODNR said, it’s because those lakes are not for flood control, but for recreation.
"Canal Fulton got hit hard. Massillon got hit hard. But they sure had a nice weekend in Portage Lakes,” he said, referring to a Regatta it held that weekend. All while people on his Lake were underwater," said Czartoszewski.
During a phone conversation, ODNR told WKYC that they did actually did lower the water in anticipation of the storm by six inches.
And while it admits it also opened dam gates, ODNR Spokesperson Eric Heis said it was because they were at risk of overflowing. But that they sent out a warning ahead of time.
ODNR Engineer Jeremy Wenner added, "You can't let water go over the top because that could hurt the dam or hurt other people.”
It added that Portage Lakes was not the only water involved here. There are some 400 square miles of drainage area that sent water to Luna Lake. Add to that, a record rainfall.
"All that water is interconnected. So, the process of getting water out of the lakes that are higher up in the water shed, down through the system, it takes time and careful balancing,” Wenner added.
But that's still a tough pill to swallow for the folks who are now trying to rebuild their lives.
“That’s our exterior staircase to the basement,” said Scott Rader as he pointed to his home. “And it literally came up and flowed into it. It was a waterfall."
WKYC Meteorologists say the rainfall should not have been enough to cause that type of flooding.
Nevertheless, the issue going forward is how to stop this from happening again. In May's Council meeting, the Mayor said he's looking to get a grant to investigate how water gets into Clinton, but that it could take five to seven years.