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Mounting frustrations for community under water

Posted: 11:06 PM, Mar 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-11 23:46:55-04

BARTHOLOMEW CO. — Amanda Burdine and her family finally had a few days without water in their basement, and then a weekend rain brought the water back into their home again. After spending another $5,000 to install a second sump pump, their home is now dry.

But, they're hoping the county drainage board will have some answers to their very wet problem.

"I've got four kids sleeping in one bedroom, I got one kid ready to walk but there's nowhere for her to walk," Burdine said.

Burdine's sump pumps have been running since early February. She said when a new one was installed this past weekend, it was like "a little river running through the house."

Weekend rain brought more water into what used to be her living room and the discovery of a new issue.

"The water finds any imperfection it can find, and it needs to go somewhere and so those small imperfections become cracks across your whole foundation," Burdine said.

Burdine joined some of her neighbors at a Bartholomew County drainage board hearing on Monday night.

Several members of the neighborhood shared their stories with the board but were told that the board could do nothing for them at the Monday night meeting. The committee said the neighbors needed to bring a petition from property owners representing 25 percent of the valued land so that the board could begin the process to install drainage. A fact the county's lawyer said he told the group about at the last county commission meeting.

The group started to get upset when they realized there would be no progress made at the meeting.

"Slightly frustrated because I feel like we did not get any answers," Amy Sheham-Walker said.

Shehan-Walker's basement has been flooded for five weeks with three pumps working non-stop to try and empty it.

"It's pretty impossible to ask the state of Indiana to help for a specific issue or specific area like this," she said.

"Bartholomew County cannot fix their problem for them," Carl Lienhoop, Bartholomew County Commissioner, District Two, said. "It will have to be a community problem that gets fixed by the community."

Lienhoop told RTV6 that if everything goes perfectly, it's possible construction could begin on a drainage system by the fall.

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