Gene Erickson says when he first bought his house in November of 2017, it was everything he wanted. But when water began seeping into the basement in late May, everything changed.
Erickson's home is on the intersection of North 24th St and 8th Avenue North. It's one of the areas with drainage issues highlighted in the May Monthly Report from Public Works Director Dave Mumford. The report states this area "has traditionally had issues during storms with any kind of intensity." Erickson says that was not disclosed to him when he bought the home.
On May 23rd, Billings received about 1.5 inches of rain, which is when Erickson first noticed the water accumulating. On May 28th, a storm dropped another inch of rain on the area and water ended up in the basement of the home but was quickly removed by a floor drain. But when the next storms came through on May 31st and June 1st, the nuisance quickly became a disaster.
"That time we weren't able to just push it down the floor drain, we had water all throughout our basement on the carpet, basically an inch of water through the whole thing," Erickson says.
He says the flooding not only affects his life and his home, it affects the community as well. The water in the area was so deep, he says, it made the area impassasble for pedestrians, drivers, and even the Fire Department had to slow down when their trucks drove through it.
Erickson says after the first storm on May 23rd, he immediately sent an email to City Council member Mike Yakawich. He says he was pleased with Yakawich's response, saying Yakawich and many of the city's other departments made him feel like they really cared.
Mumford says while they're working to find the cause of the flooding in these areas, there's nothing they can do until the water goes down.
"We have to find answers that work," Mumford says, "We don't want to start making corrections and flood somebody else out by moving the water someplace else. We have to understand what's gonna happen when we're done, otherwise we can fix one person's problems and end up causing it to go to somebody else's house."
Erickson says while he appreciates the city's response so far, he would like to see something done about the drainage issue.