Basements flooding in older sections of Amherst

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AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – As rain-swollen creeks threaten to flood neighborhoods across Western New York, groundwater is posing a new threat in parts of Amherst. Several basements have flooded in the Snyder and Eggertsville neighborhoods, and town officials say it is because the basements are not equipped with working sump pumps.

Amherst homeowner Rachel Weissfeld said during the peak of heavy rain late Thursday night, storm water bubbled up through an antiquated floor drain in her basement, and popped the drain cap, as the water gushed into her basement, “The pressure was very, very powerful and it popped off the cover to the tile drain.”

Weissfeld now has water marks along the basement walls and doors, about 6 to 8 inches from the floor. She had to throw out all of her basement carpeting because it was ruined by the flood.

Fortunately for the Snyder homeowner, a work crew from the town’s Engineering Department brought a portable sump pump early Friday morning and pumped out the basement.

“They basically pumped out the water into the tubs next to the washer and dryer. Unfortunately my windows are very sealed shut–they are painted shut so they could not go out the windows as they normally would do.”

Town officials said pumping storm water out of basements is not a task they would routinely perform, but they did get to several homes in the Snyder and Eggerstville sections last Friday.

Rachel said the crew that worked her home cited the age of the houses, “All these homes were built so long ago, it was before sump pumps and drain tiles, and that the sewers are quite antiquated, and there is problems, very often, within Eggertsville and Snyder.”

This was about fourth time Weissfeld’s basement has flooded in the 10 years she has lived in her home, and it is a finished basement. Rachel said her homeowners insurance has come through, but her policy has been cancelled a couple of times.

Now she plans to end the flooding once and for all, “I am going to put in a sump pump and do drain tile, in combination with an upgraded sewer system. I think that will be the perfect combination.”

Town officials are encouraging homeowners in those older flood-prone areas to install in-ground drainage pipes, with sump pumps. It is a costly undertaking, but Engineer Jeff Burroughs told us, he plans to suggest a program to town officials that could make new home drainage systems more affordable.

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