City of Seattle Settles with Homeowners Over Decades Long Flooding and Sewage Problem

    The city of Seattle has agreed to pay $2.5 million to homeowners in an especially flood prone neighborhood of Seattle.  The Seattle Times reports residents filed a lawsuit claiming that an abandoned city project that began forty years ago to control storm water runoff in the city’s more affluent areas resulted in chronic flooding and sewage back-up in Madison Valley, a working class neighborhood close to Lake Washington.  The suit claimed the city was aware of the problem but chose not to address it. City officials say they simply ran out of bond money to fix the wastewater system and the problem was compounded by more frequent and intense rain storms in recent years.
    The issue came to public light in 2006 after the drowning death of Madison Valley resident Kate Fleming, whose basement was completely flooded during an especially strong storm, dubbed the Hanukkah Eve Flood.   The city reached a nearly three million dollar settlement with Fleming’s family in 2008.  Since the tragedy and the upwelling of anger that went with it, more residents came forward and a lawsuit was officially filed in 2009.
    The city has already compensated many plaintiffs for the loss of personal belongings in previous floods.  The settlement dictates a dozen homeowners will split $2.5 million to pay for property damage.  In addition, the city will spend $27 million to build six blocks of storm water pipes and a storage tank in Madison Valley before the end of the year.


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