San Pablo residents fed up with flooding

February 17, 2009 5:51:38 PM PST
Homeowners in one San Pablo neighborhood are fed up with flooding that came into their homes again Tuesday.

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They want the problem fixed and fixed soon.

Anyone would feel the same way if it happened where they lived. Once would bad enough. But over and over again would be infuriating and expensive.

By 5:00 p.m. Contra Costa County Public Works crews had arrived to clean up flooding. But, some residents think that was too little, too late. Water levels had decreased, but it was little consolation to three homeowners who took a hit during Tuesday morning's rain cells.

They think the damage could have and should have been avoided.

The residents of Lettia Road have been down this path before. With high tide and heavy rain, storm water drains right into their homes and cars.

It is rainwater combined with sewage and some families seem to have gotten the worst of it.

"Within like an hour and a half the entire house was filled with at least two to three inches in every room," described Michael Cardenas.

When the water receded it left a coating of a filthy muck.

"This is horrible. We've got raw garbage floating in the area," said Bob Bipper.

"It was coming in the house. It was bubbling under the door," explained Arnetha Puckett.

Puckett has lived in San Pablo for 15 years. This is the third time her house has flooded in a heavy storm.

"I'm not really sure who's problem it is, but it shouldn't be my problem though because I pay taxes," she said.

It seems there is enough blame to go around.

Contra Costa Public Works blames overgrown brush that has clogged a drainage pipe on property owned by the Burlington Northern Railroad and others. Burlington Northern told ABC7 the pipes that run under its property are the County's responsibility.

"These people who live here are in an unincorporated area. They don't have a city to rely on for community services, but they do have the county to rely on and they're not stepping up and taking care of business," said residents' attorney Mister Phillips.

While residents cleaned up the street, Contra Costa Public Works sent a crew to clear the storm drain closest to the homes.

Arnetha Puckett said that did not make her feel any better.

Bipper told ABC7, "If this was Blackhawk, Danville, Lafayette, anywhere else this wouldn't go on."

The County has written letters to the railroad and to other property owners asking them to clean up their act, literally. So far, nothing has been done.

A meeting has been scheduled for next week. But, residents in the area worry that in the meantime, as the next storm moves in, the same thing will happen all over again.

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