ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Sunday’s flooding woes created a geyser in an Affton neighborhood when the water pressure forced a sewer grate in the middle of the street 10 feet into the air.
It was an incredible sight to see.
Residents said they’ve been dealing with extreme water woes for years. Susie Reuter said she had to redo her home time and time again. She witnessed the sewer grate blow its top off.
“When it gets too much rain in too short a time, everything is like a bowl, and I live at the bottom of it,” Reuter said. “And all the rain comes here through these grates, and it drains out. The water can’t go anywhere; it’s too forceful; it just shoots up into the air and creates a lake.”
On Tuesday, she and her father were trying to recover from this one, caulking the windows and disposing of debris.
“It gets really bad where there’s a big lake here; you see all that debris, everything funnels into a lake, then it funnels into my yard,” Reuter said. “I’m the lowest point, so it goes over my air conditioner. I would love a buyout; they’ve tried every other fix, and I don’t know what else it could be.”
Resident Blake Robert also saw the grate blow its top.
“The water came out shooting 10 feet in the air; it came up to my first step right there,” Robert said. “I had to evacuate the backyard. I grabbed my dog; that’s the only thing I could grab.”
He said residents have asked for help.
“MSD always says they’re going to do something about it, and they never do,” Robert said.
The spokesperson for MSD, Bess McCoy, said none of this is the fault of her agency.
“No man-made sewers are designed to handle that level of rain, so what we’re looking at is a perfect storm of issues that unfortunately led to some rough issues in that neighborhood,” she said. “As far as what the solution is, that’s not our role to provide that solution. We are not the flood authority, but we do think we could be part of the solution. Generally, in most areas that have frequent flooding, especially here where we see they’re built over a creek, the solution is often to at least buyout those homes that are built over the natural drainage.”
McCoy said MSD is not responsible for flood buyouts. She added that it would be on St. Louis County to start that effort.