Finding a Fix for Flooding

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ-TV) -- When storms roll in, there is one spot in Huntington that always seems to flood: Arlington Boulevard.

Residents like Allen Ross say flooding has long been an issue in teh area.

"For 40 years, Arlington 'river' has definitely been a source of frustration to say the very least," Ross said.

Ross and other residents in the area jokingly refer to this problem area as 'Arlington River', but he says the on-going flooding problem is no laughing matter.

"We're battling foundation problems, we're battling mold problems," Ross said. "In addition to the physical damage to the structures, we're looking at potential health issues."

The problem, as with much of the city of Huntington, is when the rain falls, the storm drains can't handle the water and it backs up into yards and streets.

"It's become common knowledge that when it rains, it will indeed flood," Ross said.

That's where Sherry Wilkins comes in. She's Huntington's new storm water director, and she has a plan. Wilkins is targeting frequently flooded areas like Fifth and Third Avenues, Arlington Boulevard and the viaducts.

"This is a problem that has taken decades to create, and it's not going to be fixed overnight," Wilkins said. "It's not something that will be fixed in a couple of months, It's going to take time to fix it."

"It's a shame that it has had to drag on this long. People shouldn't have to live with the fear that their house or basement is going to flood."

Wilkins is now getting feedback from flood victims. She's started a spreadsheet and is taking information from residents who have been hit hard by flooding.

"What we're doing right now is taking information from citizens that call in, or they can email," Wilkins said. "We'll get the nature of their problem, and then as funds become available, we can address the problems that are the city's responsibility.

For Allen and others living on Arlington Boulevard, it's a small step in the right direction.

"At this point, I'm going to have to see someone step up and actually go to bat rather than just put a band-aid on it," Allen said.

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