Residents: Vermilion's water problem stinks

VERMILION Jeana Sharpe, a single mom of three, bought her first home just eight weeks ago, not expec
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Jeana Sharpe, a single mom of three, bought her first home just eight weeks ago, not expecting to have raw sewage flood into her crawl space.

Two weeks ago during a flash flood and then again Monday, Sharpe and other residents of Morton Road experienced a backup from the road's storm water sewers.

On Monday night Morton Road residents and neighbors from nearby streets in Vermilion told city council members their situation stinks, literally.

For some who came before the council to talk about flooding, it was the second time in two weeks they had to deal with the hum of a sump pump and stench of dirty water -- and in some cases, raw sewage.

It wasn't the first time Laura Sobotka has come to address council.

"I stood in the same building, in the same room, three years ago for the same problem," she said to council. "I stand here tonight, and I still have the same problem."

Sobotka begged council members to take swift action to rectify the problem that has flooded her home three times since the city paid a large insurance settlement to her for flooding in July 2004.

You know it's the city fault, she said.

But now, it's not just Sobtka's property that's flooding. It's also neighbors like Sharpe and a 66-year-old neighbor, also a first-time buyer.

The homeowner said she was too afraid to share her name because she lives alone. She did not stand up during the meeting to speak to council. She said she feels married to the black hose and sump pumps in her home.

Sobotka shared with the council a similar feeling.

"I'm held hostage to my house. You can't plan vacation. You can't go anywhere. You have to stay tuned to the Weather Channel," she said. She added she can't sell the home because it's public knowledge the flooding occurs.

Sharpe said she worries about her son, who has asthma. As the mold, mildew and raw sewage rot beneath her home, she knows her children are inhaling the vapors.

"I live month-to-month, check-to-check on my income only," she said.

"I've heard a lot of 'I'm sorries, we will take care of it,'" she said. "I want to hear something, see something done soon."

A committee will hear a request for engineering specifications to be drawn up for the problem at a committee meeting Monday.

Sobotka praised the mayor and city administration for their response to the most recent bout of flooding but pleaded with council to handle the matter swiftly.

"Take into consideration that these are our homes; this is where we're living," she said. "We cannot continue to live like this."