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Knoxville neighborhood experiencing flooding issues

The area isn’t listed as a flood zone by FEMA, so they want to know why they’re dealing with it
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 8:04 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -When there’s a chance of rain, Michelle Miles fears her home will become an island.

“I had got up to let my dogs out and they went to the porch and could not get off the porch because it was up to their knees,” said Miles.

Miles said after consecutive days of rain, her neighborhood has heavy flooding, which takes hours or even days to recede.

“You could be gone at work and wonder if you’re gonna come home to a house that is potentially destroyed,” said Miles’ neighbor Christina Hunter.

Hunter said she has lived along Pulaski Road since 2014.

According to FEMA, the area near Pulaski Rd isn’t listed as a flood area, Hunter wants to know why they are dealing with it.

“See the problem is we don’t know what the correlation is. I’m not trained in sewage, I’m not trained on what sinkholes do to a neighborhood. We really don’t know what the repercussions of this could be and that just adds to the fear. We want to be able to feel safe and secure in our home and that’s difficult to be able to do,” said Hunter.

Both ladies said they’ve reached out to the city to explain their fears and concerns with no answer or solution.

Chris Howley with the City of Knoxville said in this situation, there is only so much they can do.

Howley said the issue comes from slow drainage of a nearby sinkhole that’s on private property.

“In this particular case, when folks reach out to us and they’re like ‘What can we do? What can we do?’ It’s difficult to give an easy answer because it’s not as simple as there’s a log in the creek, and it needs to be removed to let the water go. It’s the water gets into the ground and once it’s in the ground it takes a while to drain out to where ever it goes,” said Howley.

Howley said the city does routine maintenance of the area’s pipe’s underneath the streets, but when it comes to the slow drainage of the sinkhole, and flow of the water underground, there’s nothing the city can do.

“If the bathtub is full of water, and you put more water in it, and it overflows I can’t go and make the bathtub any bigger,” said Howley.

It’s something Miles and Hunter said they were never told and they fear for their safety.

The city of Knoxville said anyone in the city is eligible for flooding insurance, even if they aren’t in a flood zone.

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