OTTUMWA — While springtime can’t come fast enough for most in the area, several Ottumwans are worried that melting snow could create a lake where their homes and businesses sit.
Buddy Kelley, who lives on Samantha Street by Union Park on the city’s west side, said that approximately six months ago he discovered a culvert close to his home that was busted and filled in, and no water was being allowed to flow through it.
The culvert is a part of a levee system that helps transport storm water to the Des Moines River, which sits on the other side of the railroad tracks directly south of his home. The culvert, which goes underneath the railroad tracks, is filled with busted concrete and rocks, Kelley said, and the water that is supposed to be running through it instead gets backed up and washes into the neighborhood.
We’re not talking a little bit of water that comes into their yard, either. According to Savannah Archer, who lives with Kelley on Samantha Street, drivers have to be cautious when trying to go down Samantha Street because the water levels can sometimes reach upwards of 4 feet. Water even comes into their basement, she said, and there was standing water in their garage for close to a week at one point last summer.
They also get greeted by ducks in the summer. Archer said there were flocks of them that would swim around in their backyard whenever the water would get high enough.
“They are kind of cute, actually,” she said.
Kelley and Archer operate a vehicle repair business at their home on Samantha Street, also, so when the floods come it creates liability issues if they happen to be repairing a car while the water rises. They are urging that the problem be fixed as soon as possible so they don’t lose any business.