Unexplained flooding dampens Camillus couple's dream

The Gleasons did not intend for their Hawthorne Drive house to be a 'starter home.'

"It's just so unfortunate, because we bought this house not to move out of here," Lori Gleason said.

But we're getting closer and closer to that point, said her husband Jim.

The problem is water.

After 15 years in the house, an unidentified flooding problem that began last spring has caused the couple to wonder whether they can - or should - continue living in the home.

The couple agrees that, like many homeowners in the Camillus area, a hard rain would always turn the back lawn soggy, and on occasion there would be puddles during spring thaws or thunderstorms.

But in the spring of 2008, water that would normally soak quickly into the ground began instead to accumulate in the yard, and though it would eventually drain, the process was significantly slower.

Not knowing what had caused the flooding, the Gleasons went to the Camillus Town Board in the hopes the board could explain why, after 14 years, the backyard was suddenly flooding dramatically worse than ever before.

Though they knew it was a private property issue, the couple had not altered their property in any way and were at a loss for why the problem had appeared abruptly. So, they went to the town board.

Was it the result of an antiquated drainage system? Increased development at higher elevations?

The Gleasons said they didn't know what to expect from the town board, but needed to know where the water was coming from.

"Our question was, 'what's different?'" Lori said. Determining the cause of the problem would allow them to find a solution, but therein lies the problem.

A year and several floods later, they still don't know the answer.

A drastic change

Last spring, the Gleasons contacted their town councilor, Dave Callahan, for help in finding the cause of the problem and have since made regular appearances at town board meetings for updates. It was slow going, involving dye tests of runoff water and a lot of waiting on the weather, but last week the Gleasons learned that the town's engineers, Barton and Laguidice, have determined the flooding was not the fault of the town.

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