Jackson County studying cause of basement flooding

Homeowners near Cascades have been dealing with flooding since 2005
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Living near one of Jackson County’s premier attractions could be great if your basement didn’t flood every spring. The county is in the early part of a study to figure out why the flooding keeps happening near the Cascades, and what can be done to fix it.

People living on Douglas Street said they’ve been having to do deal with flooding issue for years and they’re happy the county is finally looking into the issue.

“It’s just getting worse and worse,” said Elaine Wolf-Baker.

She said her basement floods almost every spring since 2005 when her mother owned her house.

“All the money I put into it is just getting ruined. The main support beams downstairs got cracked. So every time we hear the sump pumps come on, we’re concerned,” said Wolf-Baker.

Now the county is doing a comprehensive watershed study to figure out what’s causing the flooding.

“We want to make sure we are looking into every potential aspect, whether that is any sort of discharges into the lagoons, if it is rising ground water,” said Amelia McElhinney, Jackson County civil engineer.

The county is putting in monitoring wells to figure out how far down the water table is.

Outside Wolf-Baker’s home this morning, Jackson County civil engineer Amelia McElhinney, found ground water about five feet below the surface, which is high.

She said doing this study will help in the long run.

“Any one solution we might lean towards could be incomplete. It might make us feel good in the moment but not solve any of the issues,” said McElhinney.

“We are hoping we can trust that study will turn out to show what all the problems are,” said Wolf-Baker.

Jackson County expects the study to take years, but it’s hoping to know what’s causing the flooding by this fall.

“Potentially with collaboration and fine tuning because we need mother nature to help us with inputs to the system, said Christopher Bolt, Asst. County Administrator. “And whether we have a drought, whether we have heavy rainfall, whether we have heavy snow, we have to take advantage of those times to see what’s happening with ground water levels.”

The county said it will continue to update the community about the study throughout the summer.

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