Draper residents concerned flooding could return after homes damaged by storms

Jan 15, 2023, 10:15 PM | Updated: 10:47 pm

DRAPER, Utah — The incoming storms are raising huge concerns for Draper residents, who are still cleaning up from floods following heavy rains last week.

While the city has diagnosed the problem, and determined it had nothing to do with the city’s drainage system, residents living in one particular neighborhood said they still don’t know why their homes flooded. They’re worried it could happen again.

When Darin Cummins walks down the stairs to his basement now, he steps down onto bare concrete flooring, which used to be covered by carpet. Video taken by a family member shows what it looked like last week when a couple of inches of water suddenly saturated the entirety of the basement floor.

“It was everywhere,” Cummins said, standing in his basement hallway. “It got every room, every inch of carpet, all the furniture that was touching the carpet.”

It also soaked into the drywall, and Cummins said he’s now going to have to replace the drywall on every wall up to a few feet from the ground. Some of his furniture from his home office, his wife’s workroom, a basement living room, and a couple of other spaces were also damaged.

Draper neighborhood flooded after heavy rains

He now can’t use half his house, and he and his wife don’t have their work-from-home spaces.

Cummins explained that it appeared the water bubbled up through the cracks in the foundation. He and his wife spent three days trying to get the water to recede. When it finally did, friends, family, and neighbors worked to rip the carpet out and begin trying to dry the foundation.

Even if the water has retreated, he doesn’t know if the threat of flooding has.

“And now it’s a question of, is it going to come back?” Cummins wondered.

That’s because Cummins and other neighbors like Jocelyn Allred are still wondering why their basements flooded in the first place.

“They said that it’s groundwater. No water’s coming in from my window wells. It’s just all coming up from the ground.” Allred said what a cleanup crew told her.

She now has a sump pump installed, but it couldn’t keep up. On Sunday, her carpet was still soaked in the basement as she awaits a crew to arrive Monday to rip it out. Water was still pooled up in one of the basement rooms that has laminate flooring.

Draper City said all their systems worked as they should and that the problem originated from failures in private subdivision water drainage systems.

More than two dozen homes in those neighborhoods flooded following heavy rains, and Draper City said their public works crews helped diagnose the problem and provided other help, such as setting out dumpsters to clear debris and making sandbags available to those who need it.

Draper City leaders say flooded homes caused by issues with privately owned drain systems

But Allred, Cummins, and all their neighbors don’t live in one of those HOA neighborhoods. They’re in a different area nearby.

“He didn’t know if, because of the other subdivision backing up, if it was a ripple effect and overflow into this system,” Allred said what she said a city employee told her.

“Something didn’t work somewhere,” Cummins added. “The dog park was flooded, and that should never happen if the drainage systems are working.”

It looks likely that insurance won’t cover the cost of anything related to the flooding for Cummins and Allred.

Cummins is worried about what will happen with more moisture coming in, especially as they head toward spring runoff.

“And that unknown just makes me sick to my stomach,” he said.

Draper City sent out tips Sunday to residents who experienced flooding:

Some residents in Draper City have experienced flooding in their basements. Here are some tips to help prevent a flooded basement:

  • Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from your house (at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet).
  • Inspect your rain gutters and downspouts regularly. Keep gutters free of debris and position downspouts away from the foundation.
    • Consider running gutter extensions to direct water further away from your home.
  • For homes with an automatic sump pump:
    • Make sure the pump is working properly and the sump is free of debris
    • Make sure the outlet to the pump drains away from the house or into a properly functioning drain that will direct the water away from the house
    • Consider installing a backup pump, should the first pump become inoperable
  • If your home has an interior or exterior drainage system to protect your home against high groundwater, make sure everything in the system is operable and in good working condition. Make sure there are no clogs or breaks in the drain pipes that lead from your home to a free flowing outlet point. This may require regular inspections and maintenance on pipes that are not on your property.
    • Consider adding a redundant system that can protect your home if the first system fails.
  • If your home is in an area with high ground water potential, consider the following:
    • Consult a professional who can help you to design and construction an interior or exterior drainage system, including an automatic sump pump with backup power.

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Draper residents concerned flooding could return after homes damaged by storms