After suffering considerable water drainage problems in recent years, a number of Oak Ridge Drive residents formally addressed La Salle City Council on Monday night.

The residents sought help from the city in easing their problems, but as questions over responsibility surfaced the issue was sent to the city's wastewater and environmental committee where it will be discussed.

Resident Craig Carter told the council he was assured his house would be free from flooding problems when he bought it. That statement was accurate until his basement began flooding during the heavy rains of August 2007.

Since then he and other neighbors have dealt with numerous home repairs, sump pump installations and private ground water studies, while a regular flow of water has been pumped from their basements and out to the street where it flows down hill until eventually reaching a nearby creek.

In Carter's case, his home is situated in a low spot, causing rainwater from other residents' property to drain toward and collect in his yard.

"I don't feel that I should be responsible for pumping their water," Carter told the council.

Currently, Carter has five sump pumps installed in his home and even during dry conditions he said he's pumping about 60,000 gallons of water a day. During heavy rain, his sump pumps will move as much as 15,000 gallons per hour, he said.

Alderman George Green questioned if the blame shouldn't rest

with the subdivision's developer, Ron Senica.

"Why does that become the city's problem, because the developer was either unknowledgeable of the problem or unwilling to admit the problem?" Green said.

Another neighborhood resident questioned why the city ever approved development plans that overlooked such problems.

As no one was familiar with specific details of the original development plans, city attorney Jim McPhedran recommended the council move the issue to committee where the problem could be further investigated with residents and the developer.

Senica was reached by phone this morning. He wasn't interested in taking the blame for the subdivision's water problems 14 years after selling the properties.

"I don't know what they're going to do over there. It's a problem, but it's gotten away from me," Senica said. "You don't give them a warranty for life."

Although uncertain of exact causes, he suggested the problems stem from the particularly heavy rain in recent years and other business developments, such as trucking depots and gas stations, further east covering former fields with pavement, limiting the ability for rain and ground water to dissipate naturally.

Terry McCleary of Tonica-based McCleary Engineering has previously been enlisted by the city to investigate the problem and recommended speedy action.

"If we keep pumping water out there, this winter it's going to freeze," McCleary said, noting the eventual thawing and refreezing cycle will likely lead to road problems.

Mayor Jeff Grove also voiced his interest in seeing this issue handled quickly after residents have been dealing with the problem for so long.

"I'd like to see a remedy done by the spring rains," Grove said.

The issue will next be discussed in a public committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, in City Hall, preceding the regular council meeting at 7 p.m.

More council news in Tuesday's NewsTribune

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