By Doug Petrowski
While David Carlos and his wife Sandy have experienced past flooding of their Mountlake Terrace cul-de-sac, “this one was by far the worst,” said Carlos, who saw flood waters rise to more than three feet in front of his house and about six inches in his basement on Monday.
The couple lives at the end of the 21500 block of 53rd Place, one of the hardest hit areas of urban flooding in Mountlake Terrace caused by the heavy rains that pummeled the region early in the week.
The Carlos’s and some of their neighbors spent Tuesday having home and vehicle damage assessed, cleaning up basements and crawl spaces, consulting with city officials and insurance adjusters about compensation, and talking to members of the media. Employees of a restoration company estimated damage just to the basement walls and floor in the Carlos’ house at about $1,200; much of their basement furniture and belongings were damaged and may not be salvageable.
“The water came in the door, it came in through the walls, it’s crazy,” said Sandy Carlos.
The restoration company will move everything out of the basement, then run large humidifiers for two days to dry the rooms out. They will attempt to dry and restore any furniture that might be able to be saved.
The Carlos’s installed a $5,000 sump pump a year ago to help keep water from accumulating in their basement, but Monday’s rainfall and lack of adequate street drainage were too much for the pump system to keep up with.
The couple said that this is the 11th flood in their neighborhood during the 10 years they have lived there. There are two stormwater drains in the cul-de-sac, but “there are tree roots in the drain pipe,” said Sandy Carlos, an assertion echoed by a neighbor. Even city officials concede a blockage of the stormwater drain is possible, although no definite conclusions in this case have been made yet.
Assistant City Manager Scott Hugill visited the neighborhood Tuesday afternoon to check on the progress of adjuster reports. The city may compensate flood victims of damage if it is determined that lack of stormwater drainage capacity led to the flooding of the Carlos’s basement, a neighbor’s crawl space and a couple of vehicles in a neighbors’ driveway.
The Carlos’s are exasperated with what they feel is a lack of response by the city to yearly flooding. “It’s frustrating since we’ve been communicating the situation for 10 years,” David Carlos said.
Hugill said the city should have an answer for the Carlos’s and their neighbors about compensation within a couple of days.
For Sandy Carlos, repairing the physical damage and determining who will pay for it will provide some relief, but the emotional damage will take some time to heal. The flooding she found upon arriving home from work on Monday will stay as a bad memory with her for a while.
“After coming home and seeing it I am now in fear of the rain,” she said.