North Ogden residents report groundwater flooding
NORTH OGDEN — It’s not just river flooding that many area residents have to look out for as spring settles in.
Over the last couple of weeks, several North Ogden residents have been noticing groundwater seeping into basements at rates they haven’t seen in decades of living in their homes.
Among them is Valerie Cullison, who said her house is among 17 around the 100 East block of 3250 North that has seen groundwater flooding.
“The water comes up from underneath and it’s just flowing through,” she told the Standard-Examiner on Monday. “Several of our neighbors below us have issues too. Some of them it’s not so much in their hose as their backyards are swamped.”
She said that some locations began reporting flooding starting a week and a half ago, while her flooding issues began a week ago.
Cullison installed a sump pump over the last week due to the flooding.
“The sump pumps that we’ve got going were going about every four minutes when we first got them in last week,” she said. “Now it’s more like every six minutes. There’s still water underground.”
She said this isn’t the first time she’s experienced flooding in her house, but it was never on such a scale.
“Six years ago … the neighbors beside me and myself, we all had flooding but nobody else in the neighborhood had it,” she said. “Now this has spread further.”
Cullison said she’s been in her home for 36 years and she has never seen such groundwater flooding in the past — and the same is true of some of her neighbors.
“The neighbor to the east of us, she’s lived there 42 years and had never seen it until six years ago,” she said. “A lot of these homes are 40-50 years old and this was the first time we’ve ever dealt with this.”
She said she and others in the neighborhood have been installing sump pumps while others are installing French drains depending on where their groundwater problem areas are.
“Right now we don’t have any carpeting left in most of these basements because we’ve had to pull it all out,” Cullison said. “Six years ago, we were worried it would happen again, so anything we had put back in our basement, we actually put up on bricks and pallets. Those are staying dry, but we may have to rip out some walls because when drywall gets wet, it’s a problem.”
She said the sump pump cost around $1,000-$2,000 but final costs for damages are a ways off.
North Ogden City Attorney Jon Call told the Standard-Examiner on Monday he has been made aware of the groundwater flooding in this area.
“We’ve had conversations about the detention basins in that area being full because of all the snow melt coming down the hill,” he said.
He added he isn’t aware of this type of flooding historically being a problem in that particular area.
“Our hillside is a little funny,” he said. “There’s a lot of springs and stuff all over the hill. I’m not sure if there’s springs that have been dormant and now are turning on because of how much water has come in there. This hasn’t been one of those areas that’s been high up on our radar as being a problem area for the city for groundwater.”
However, Cullison said past neighbors may have raised concerns decades ago.
“One of my neighbors … is living in the home that her mother lived in for a long time, and her mother passed away about 20-25 years ago,” Cullison said. “She told me her mother and one of the neighbors across from her had gone to the city … maybe 25 years ago to tell them if they’re going to allow construction up above us, they should have measures put in place to control (groundwater) because they knew all these artesian wells have been here forever.”
Call said there’s little the city can do at this point.
“There’s not anything we can do for groundwater,” he said. “As far as we know, there’s no breaks in the (stormwater) system, meaning there’s not a pipe just dumping water underground. More than likely, it’s just groundwater that’s coming up because of all the snow that’s melting into the ground.”
He said people are encouraged to be vigilant and keep checking their basements for flooding and to make sure that sump pumps are being piped out to the road and not the sewer system.
Call noted that the flooding reported by Cullison and her neighbors is unconnected with flooding that was reported in North Ogden last week due to a blocked drain on Fruitland Drive.
Cullison said she and other neighbors are ultimately thankful to the surrounding community.
“We are very grateful for all of our good neighbors,” she said. “Everybody has been pitching in and helping each other because some of us are single or widows. They’ve been giving a lot of help. We’ve had so many people in our home this past week helping us to deal with this.”