Madison Valley neighborhood skeptical of new drainage system

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 13, 2010 at 9:29 PM

SEATTLE -- The weekend rain storm caused urban flooding and brought angry complaints that Seattle's attempts to ease flooding did not work.

The rain gradually filled city lowlands, including Madison Valley, where four years ago a woman drowned in her basement.

Since then, the city has been building a $30 million project to protect Madison Valley from flooding. Phase one constructed a retention pond at 30th and East John, designed to capture water and drain it down this birdcage-topped pipe.

But some neighbors believe the pipe didn't drain properly. A dozen tennis balls, a football, water bottle, sports cone and other debris found in and around the birdcage Monday may have clogged the drainage system.

The city is investigating if balls, or something else clogged the system. In the mean time, the city will likely install wire mesh around the birdcage cover.

Water still crept into Barb Oliver's backyard, where there are even a few extra drains. Oliver lives at the lowest point in Madison Valley.

"We shouldn't have had a fourth of the standing water we had back here," said Oliver.

The city says the project worked and prevented the floodwaters from going into people's homes.

"If we hadn't had this facility in place we would have seen much worse flooding in peoples' properties," said Linda DeBoldt with Seattle Public Utilities.

The city is planning a similar stormwater project in the north part of Seattle to protect homes that flood near Thornton Creek.

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