MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. Sue Cusma has lived on Whittier Drive for eight years and has never experienced the floods she has had at her home this summer.
On June 23, Cusma's yard flooded with so much water that an emptied in-ground pool in her backyard filled up completely. Another foot of water sat on top of that, which spilled into her basement level apartment where a tenant was living. The water also spilled into the backyard and basement of her neighbors, Angela and Rob Torrieri. Both homes, the residents say, were deemed unsafe to live in until the water was cleared.
On that day in late June, multiple homes and properties were flooded by a combination of torrential rain and what residents are describing as faulty and neglected pipework by the Town of Mount Pleasant. Now, those residents are seeking answers and compensation from the town.
Since June, Cusma's backyard has flooded again three times.
Still, Tony and Antoinette Fierro may have experienced the worst flooding in the area. The water did not start on the outside though, but rather inside their home. Sewage water and fecal matter spewed from their toilet and shower, flooding their basement and causing over $35,000 in damages.
"I went downstairs and I couldn't believe what I was seeing with my own eyes, I couldn't even speak," Antoinette Fierro said.
Cusma, along with the other residents on Whittier Drive, said they believe that the flash flooding was due to a combination of backed up pipes at nearby Carroll Lake and also sewage pipes that run through their backyards. Formal claims and complaints have been filed with the Town of Mount Pleasant, but the town says they are not responsible since they cannot control the rain.
Longtime Whittier Drive resident John Auriemma disagrees, saying, "I've lived here for 34 years, there's no way this is the hardest its rained in those years, not even close, and I've never seen floods like this."
Last week, Cusma, Auriemma, Torrieri and Fierro all went in front of the town board at its monthly meeting to plead their case, searching for answers. Cusma told the story of her 6-year-old daughter, who Cusma claims is now terribly afraid of the rain and what damage it may cause to their home.
"It's not just financial issues that we have now, it's also emotional ones as well," Cusma said.
The group is scheduled to meet with Mount Pleasant Supervisor Joan Maybury and other town officials this Thursday in hopes of resolving the flooding issues.
Have you experienced any flooding at your home during this summer? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook .
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