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Water run-off causes flooding in Spokane homes

Water run-off causes flooding in...

SPOKANE, Wash. - If you live near a stream or river, flooding is probably something you've had to deal with before. But now, this winter is bringing unwelcome water to places you might not expect.

On the upper South Hill, something hidden beneath the soil is triggering urban flooding as well.

The homes and businesses around 57th and Regal sit on depressions in the ground called “Basalt Saucers.” When we have this much rain and snowmelt, the saucers fill up like this swale and end up in people's basements because it can't drain through the solid rock up here.

Out in the Spokane Valley, a different problem occurs where water can't percolate through a bullet proof layer of ice. Up until now, only sunlight poured through Pam and Jeff Miller's window wells in their basement. But on Thursday, it was something else.

“I came downstairs and as soon as I stepped on the carpet, water went up and over my shoe,” said Jeff Miller.
That's when the Miller's tasked their seven children with finding and stopping the leak. 

“It was clear it was coming from the yard,” said Pam Miller, “because there was just a sheet of ice and the rain was coming down, hitting the ice, and then running off under the deck and into the window well downstairs.”

So, the Miller's son Christian crawled underneath the deck through freezing snowmelt and tried to dam up the leak with sand his folks had poured into freezer storage bags.

“He shoved them in the hole and stops the water flow which was fantastic,” said Pam.

Meanwhile, some of the Millers' other helpful sons started drying out the basement. Pam Miller took it upon herself to make sure no more precipitation wound up too close to the house.

So, she put up a tarp and redirected roof runoff to the trampoline pit.

“It was reaching a spot here that was sending the water back that direction,” said Pam. “So, we  jury-rigged our little system to get the water to drain from the deck into the trampoline hole.”

The Millers have lived here 16 years and never had water drain from the backyard into their home.

They wanted other window-well owners to know what could happen and how when a family works together, they get things accomplished.

“The boys got up early the next morning, and that's when we got the fans going and everything else,” said Pam. “They worked hard.”

So now that you know that we are dealing with saturated soil throughout the region, take a look around the house, both outside and in the basement, and make sure that if we get even more rain, it can't find a way inside. 


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