Flooding frustrations for Metro East homeowners


EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A rainy Thursday leads to flooding problems in parts of the Metro East and some residents insist more should be done to address what feels like a recurring nightmare in some cases.

As the rains fell, Angela Harlan was unable to reach her 81-year-old mother, who lives on Terrace Drive near 68th Street in East St. Louis. Flood waters covered the street. Harlan stood a block away and waved to her mother while talking to her on the phone. Her mom walked out of her front door and waved back to show her daughter she was okay.

“I just can’t believe it,” Harlan said. “It brings tears to your eyes.”

She blames East St. Louis officials for not doing enough to address what she calls continuing flooding problems in the area.

“They have continuously told us they’re going to fix things and to our dismay every year, this is the same problem,” Harlan said.

She said no one answered phones at East St. Louis City Hall when she called to raise concerns Thursday. Harlan said her mother keeps many of her belongings packed so they can be moved whenever it rains.

“She’s terrified,” said Harlan. “She’s scared that she’s going to lose everything she has.”

A Pontoon Beach family has lost nearly everything they own because of a sewer backup at their home on Kaseberg Lane Thursday.

“We had tons of sewage water bubbling up through our toilet and bathtub, and within minutes it flooded everything,” said Gina Suermann.

Furniture, clothes, and toys were all soaked with sewage backup. Suermann said plumbers tell her there’s a problem with the sewer system. She says the Madison County Special Service Area #1 controls the system disagrees.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” said Suermann. “There’s nothing I can do and no one will help me.”

She wants improvements as soon as possible.

“There’s no flushing toilets, there’s no using a sink, you can’t wash your hands, and bathe the kids,” said Suermann. “I mean, there’s nothing we can do right now.”

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