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Take steps to stop flooding

St. Clairsville is not the only area community where some residents find raw sewage backing up into their homes during heavy rainstorms.

Unfortunately, no one seems to have a good, permanent solution to the problem.

But two members of St. Clairsville City Council, Terra Butler and Perry Basile, have ideas that may help.

They have devoted a substantial amount of time and effort to investigating the problem, which affects homes on Bellview Street and Overbaugh Avenue.

In villages and cities throughout the Ohio Valley, downspouts from many homes feed into sanitary sewers, not storm drains. Both state and federal environmental protection agencies want that changed everywhere.

In some local communities, even storm sewers become overwhelmed with the runoff from homes and businesses. That results in other problems, such as erosion and street flooding.

But water from the downspouts may be overloading the sanitary sewer in St. Clairsville, causing the backups.

It has been suggested that the overloading could be eased if homeowners in the affected area directed water from downspouts into their yards rather than the sewer system. This may not sound appealing to some, since they may worry about damage to their lawns or structures on the properties. But, done with care, it is a relatively simple step that could help to resolve the larger problem of basement flooding and the presence of sewage in people’s homes.

Cleaning the sewer main also could help.

Undertaking the two measures “would be our first priority,” Butler reported to city council last week.

City officials should undertake cleaning out the sewer main as soon as possible.

Residents in the affected area should redirect their downspouts — in the knowledge doing so may keep raw sewage from backing up into their basements and those of their neighbors.

Together, the two steps may just solve the entire problem.

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