Water woes worry Welcome

WELCOME — Several Welcome residents looked to the City Council this week for answers about water damage in their homes.

They were wondering about applying for the city’s insurance in relation to damage caused by rain inundation and sewer backups, after an unprecedented 9 inches of rain fell during the last part of May.

The council explained it could apply for relief but there usually are no payouts for residents, who need to turn to their homeowner’s insurance.

Some citizens said they had not had water in their basements for years. They also wondered if the street construction around town was to blame for some of the damage. Welcome is undertaking a massive $2.9 million infrastructure project this summer.

A council member said the construction did not effect water in basements, and suggested that all the sump pumps and other alternate drainage going into the sanitary sewer – instead of outside to where it is supposed to go — has filled that drainage system to overflowing, especially when it rains 9 inches.

A city employee noted that the wastewater plant has been processing a lot more water than usual (1,200 gallons per minute). Finding out where the extra water is coming from is a high priority for the city, he said.

Residents asked who is responsible for that problem. City officials say the responsibility for homeowners begins at the curb and goes to the house.

Council members asked about an ordinance that would give the city permission to inspect homes to see where the sump pumps and other drainage is going. Violations would be cited, with the money added to the utility bill until the problem is fixed. Council members say too many residents are illegally hooked up to the sanitary sewer currently.

Residents asked that the city enforce of existing ordinances.

Turning to other business, the council heard a report from city engineer Travis Winter of Bolton & Menk, who noted that despite the weather, progress is being made on the street improvement project.

The next meeting of the council will be June 18.