Flooded basements and streets are getting more common in parts of southeast Spokane, especially with the homebuilding boom near Browne Mountain.
For example, Doug Kelley, who lives near one of the affected areas, near 57th and Freya, said, “For 10 months of the year, I’ve got a swamp in one corner of my back yard.”
Kelley said the standing water prevents him from making full use of his 10,200-square-foot lot.
He added that he was not aware of the extent of the stormwater runoff problem when he bought his home.
Spokane County officials are trying to find long-term solutions to handling stormwater runoff in the Glenrose area of the South Side and the Central Park area of the Spokane Valley.
The Glenrose and Central Park Watershed Committee is seeking 11 to 17 area residents to help with a yearlong study and recommendations to the county’s Water Quality Advisory Committee.
Anyone interested in joining the study should contact Brenda Sims at the county’s stormwater utility office at 456-3204.
Sims said the Browne Mountain terrain has been susceptible to heavy runoff and erosion for many years, but the increased number of homesites has aggravated the problem.
In the past, the stormwater would run harmlessly into small ponds and wetlands at the base of the mountain and seep into the ground slowly.
Now the water rolls down streets and flows off residential lots, eroding the hillside and carrying sediment and mud.
A shallow water table also leaves standing water in many areas.
A county engineer 20 years ago recommended a storm sewer in the Glenrose area prior to new development, but the sewer was never installed, Sims said.
“We’ve been living with the consequences,” she said.
Water frequently overflows a drainage ditch on Glenrose Road, then floods homes. Some of the worst problems are near 57th and Freya, she said.
Kelley, who has signed up to join the watershed committee, said the county should study the drainage and subsurface water movements with geologic mapping to plan a stormwater system.
Similar problems occur near Central Park, Sims said.
In 1992 the county enacted a stormwater utility district in the developing portions of unincorporated areas and a year later started charging homeowners in the utility area $10 a year to help pay for planning stormwater projects, Sims said.