After a second major flood along the Meramec, a Eureka resident feels conflicted about staying | St. Louis Public Radio

After a second major flood along the Meramec, a Eureka resident feels conflicted about staying

Jul 14, 2017

Two months ago, retired physical education teacher and Eureka resident Sharon Wasson spent four days trying to keep sewer water from entering her basement. An armada of blower fans covered the floor. Members of Eureka High School’s football and wrestling teams packed the place, pumping water out of Wasson’s house.

Two months later, the basement where she once spent most of her time is still a work in progress. Having dealt with the major flooding in May and in December 2015, Wasson is conflicted about staying in Eureka.

“I always tell people that the only way I’ll leave this house is horizontal, on a gurney,” Wasson said.  “I don’t know what to do, to be honest with you, but I love this house and I want to stay here. But I can’t deal with floods anymore. But I’ll never leave the town of Eureka, that’s a fact.”

The December 2015 flood cost Wasson more than $25,000 in repairs. The flood in May cost her about $10,000. The financial burden was lower this time around because she was prepared. Friends and family raised her furniture on cinder blocks and assembled contraptions, involving a wet/dry vacuum, to prevent flooding in her basement. Still, she thought the second flood was more difficult to tolerate.

Listen to Eureka resident Sharon Wasson reflect on recovering after the severe flooding this past May.

“This was a way worse flood," Wasson said. "We fought it nonstop for four days, nonstop around the clock. Had we not, it would have been higher than the last one.”

Wasson and her neighbors want answers as to why they’ve been faced with two major floods in less than 18 months. While she admits she’s no expert on the subject, she believes that the Valley Park levee has been built too high and in times of heavy rain, “the water has to go somewhere.”

Wasson's daughter designed thank you cards for the people who came to help during the May 2017 flood. Wasson has about 50 of these letters to send out.
Credit Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

“I want this neighborhood to get some attention because we cannot keep doing this,” she said. “We’re not in a flood zone. I’m up on a hill here.

"We have so many theories as to why the water comes up here and the Army Corps of Engineers are the only ones who can understand. And obviously…we’re not a huge priority, is what I’m trying to say.”

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