Record Rain Fall Causes Problems

West Terre Haute, IN - After last week's heavy rain and more coming up in the forecast, Valley residents are finding it hard to stay afloat.

And while many communities near the Wabash are dealing with flooding, some smaller communities are starting to see their utilities fail, which is certainly the case in West Terre Haute.

Since February 21st, Terre Haute has received nearly 3.5 inches of rain, that's over an inch more than the average for the entire month combined.

The river is also up almost 25 feet high, causing sewer drains to overflow in West Terre Haute.

While residents ask for help, the town board says there's not much they can do.

Storm drains are designed to take water in, keeping the standing water in the streets to a minimum. But in West Terre Haute, it's the opposite.

"Along with the surface water, the manholes for the city sewers, the septic system has started leaking water out into people's yards and the county park," says West Terre Haute resident Howard Baugues.

"With the flooding, everyone is pumping their water into the sewers and our plant is already running at full capacity which is what's causing the water to come back up," says Town Board President Shane Smith.

Howard Baugues is a resident in West Terre Haute's 700 block on South 7th St., he says the issue is causing unhealthy problems.

"You have a lot of elderly living around here, some families with children, I have COPD. When it starts getting cool in the evenings the sewer smell, the sulfur gas increases to where you come outside and it tightens your throat. It's hard to breathe. People shouldn't have to live in that," says Baugues.

The Town Board understands these concerns, but say since the water is already high they can't do anything to stop it now, but have plans for the future.

"Maybe smoke screen the lines and see who is pumping into it to take the pressure off the lines and hopefully get the residents to pump out into the streets instead of the sewers," says Smith.

So the Town Board hopes to vote for that soon, saying the access is the issues. The town claims the plant would be able to keep up with the normal amount of water.

Residents have also notified the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.


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