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Cleaning up after the floods in Johnson City

By Kyle Benjamin, kbenjamin@wcyb.com
Published On: Jul 18 2013 02:32:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2013 06:00:00 PM CDT

Public works director Phil Pindzola tells News 5 an area in Johnson City is particularly flood-prone.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

This is not the first time the area around East Main Street and South Broadway has flooded.

Phil Pindzola, public works director for Johnson City, tells us every time it rains there's standing water in the intersection. He explained that there was very localized flooding in Johnson City Wednesday night.

There are two drainage basins -- the one at Brush Creek by ETSU held up nicely, but the King Creek Watershed was overwhelmed by the rain, leading to big problems on Broadway.

Pindzola says he could tell last night's storm would be trouble. "When it gets so dark the streetlights come on [during the day], that means you're going to get about three inches every half hour, and that's about what we got," he said.

An abundance of rain on an area that's had plenty for the year has raised the water table, preventing Wednesday's storm water from absorbing into the ground. It literally had nowhere to go, except into nearby buildings like Babies On Broadway.

Owner Allen Powell was there cleaning up on Thursday. "We've squeegeed one time though here. We'll come back again, mop through here a couple times, let it air out," he said. "We've got stuff outside. We'll try to get it back inside in two days."

Powell has been in business here for more than a decade. He says his store floods once a year, but he's never seen anything like this. "You know, after the third or fourth time, you think, 'well, the city's going to do something.' But its getting a little bit ridiculous now. Thirteen years is a long time. It's bad every time it happens, but this is the worst," he told us.

Johnson City has plans to fix the area. Pindzola tells us the city council is voting Thursday night on an $830,000 plan; if approved it should be complete by the end of the year.

"It's always bad. It's always flooding," Pindzola said. "It's a large drainage culvert system we'll be putting in. We'll add some wetlands area downstream to add capacity as it backs up."

It's a long-term solution to fix an intersection that has trouble with every storm, trouble that has people like Allen cleaning up year after year.

Click here to view photos of the flood and the cleanup progress.