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Councilman, fire dept. thanked

By Staff | Jul 25, 2014

On Monday, I arrived home between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., not knowing what to expect because I had traveled home from a service call in the Minnewauken area and went through some really heavy rain. I was figuring who will I have to call now to get something done with a possibility of more rain to come.

For those who don’t know what is happening in our neighborhood, this stormwater runoff started one year ago with the wet 2013 summer. We found out in a hurry, that with our non-existent infrastructure it’s hard to handle any stormwater runoff. What was in place was a slough to the east of 15th Street SW, a little ditch behind my residence and another slough to the south of the church. These three areas would fill with water causing tremendous pressure on the ground water situation, forcing our sump pumps to run every three to five minutes. Not to mention, three bodies of water formed to breed mosquitoes.

This became a serious situation for some of the residents who did not have sump pumps and took on quite a bit of water in their basements. For others, breeding ground for mosquitoes took root as well as the eye sore of having standing water and cat tails around the residents’ homes. After numerous phone calls from the neighborhood to the City and elected officials we were told that engineers were going to look into what could be done to solve this matter.

I attended this meeting and listened to the engineers. Their study concluded that 17 acres of water was coming down to our neighborhood. The engineers were asked by the City to come up with a solution and they did. Behind my residence there would be a 16-foot-wide by approximately 2-foot-deep drainage ditch that would tie into the water being held south of the church, and then tie into the lowest elevation of the three problem areas east of 15th Street SW, where a lift station would be installed to move this water one block north to the existing storm drains.

The City took this upon themselves, saying we can do this ourselves and save money, but we cannot do it until the fall (2013) so the ground is firmed up. At the same time the City said they would order the pump that the engineers suggested.

Well the fall of 2013 came and went with nothing being done about this problem. In the meantime, with all the other rain we had received I took it upon myself to move the trash pump from one location to the other to keep the water out of the three areas. The city would supply the gas and the oil for the pump. Sometimes you have to help yourselves in this type of situation, so I did.

In the early months of 2014 the residents of 15th Street SW were told this project would be done in the spring. Well, guess what? The spring of 2014 came and went, and here is the funny thing – after hearing that in a City council meeting in June, one of our elected officials stated the pump would arrive on June 20, 2014. What? This should have been ordered the summer of 2013!

Tell me how you would have completed this project in the fall of 2013 without a pump? Four residents, myself included, have had to install more sump pumps, whether inside or on the outside of our homes due to this problem that we pay taxes for. We also pay for it in the water bill for infrastructure. This has been one very frustrating ordeal.

Three of our neighbors, including myself, have our basements gutted because of this water situation. It sure would be nice to live in our whole house instead of half. I’m hoping and looking forward to a couple of new faces on the City Council to stand up and charge into taking care of the residents of Rugby when situations like this arise.

On Monday, when I walked out of my backyard in the rain, Craig Zachmeier was out in the street. I talked with Craig, showed him what was proposed to fix the problem, and he walked with me in the rain. He looked at it all and listened to all I had to say. About half an hour later the members of the Rugby Fire Department started arriving and they put some portable pumps behind my residence to remove all the water. They also helped pump the water to the east of 15th Street SW.

So what I would like to conclude is THANK YOU to Craig Zachmeier and the Rugby Fire Department. After a year of this problem falling on deaf ears, it feels pretty good when you have some people take your concerns seriously and take action!

Chuck and Shawna Longie,


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