The fix to this flooding problem in Fairfield Twp. is a costly one

Robert Jordan wants the township or the county to fix a drainage issue along Fairfax Avenue because every time there’s a heavy rain his mother’s front porch — and her neighbor’s yards — flood, he said.

It’s happened for years ever since a water line was connected in the neighborhood, according to Jordan.

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To prevent future flooding, it was suggested during a Wednesday afternoon meeting with township and county officials he raise his mother’s gravel driveway 6 inches. This is a temporary solution that won’t fix the systemic problem in the subdivision — which a similar problem all around the Five Points area, he said.

“If that’s going to solve it, we’ll do it. No problem,” said Jordan. “But what are you going to do about the guy next door when floods his yard (because of raising the driveway), or it goes down the next block over. It’s going to fall on me to be liable.”

Jordan said he believes he and his mom are paying for a problem they didn’t create and that the township is “trying to resolve the problem by having the homeowners do it.”

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There is a fix for the flooding, said Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens, but it’s not simple.

“At first glance, it’s pretty simple, but none of it’s simple. It’s complex. You’re dealing with a lot of houses in close proximity to one another that was never built with a plan in mind,” he said. “You go back to when they were built. I don’t know how much of a plan was laid out for that area. So now we’re trying to retrofit, and nothing is as easy as it looks.”

This neighborhood is just north of the Butler County Airport, and it’s one of the older subdivisions in the township. Homes were built from the 1940s to the 1960s with very little space between. Roads are narrow, and many natural ditches designed to carry the water to sewer lines were filled in with gravel or concrete by homeowners.

Wilkens said there has been a plan on the books to fix the issue for the past few decades, but it comes down to one thing: money.

“We need to look at the big picture … and making the right fix,” said Fairfield Twp. Trustee Susan Berding. “It just costs so much money, and the township just doesn’t have that kind of money.”

Township and county officials predict this Five Points-wide problem could require a couple of million dollars to fix it.

“We don’t have a lot of disposable income for these huge, huge projects,” said Berding, especially when it’s not the township’s responsibility such as with stormwater management. “We have to make sure we are spending money where it is our responsibility and help the resident in some way by hopefully securing this grant in 2019.”

Fairfield Twp. Administrator Julie Vonderhaar said though it’s not the township’s responsibility, the township will clean out the clogged catch basin and then, with the help of a sewer camera, determine why the catch basin is clogging.

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