Deluge Of Water Was More Than Homeowners Had Bargained For

April 01, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

When David and Debra Rossi moved into their new Piney Orchard town house in January, they knew they would have to put with some inconveniences.

Living in one of the first completed homes of the 4,000 planned for the Odenton development, they knew construction would be a way of life for a few years. No grass was planted, and bulldozers outnumbered cars in parking lots.

But the couple didn't expect a flood.

That's what they got March 23, during a torrential downpour that filled their basement with more than a foot of water and damaged furniture and electronic equipment.

Their yard was filled with nearly 2 feet of water -- neighborshad to use a boat to reach a storm drain in the back yard.

"We expected to live with the dirt," Debra Rossi said. "The fringe benefit was buying this place cheap. But I didn't expect all my carpets wouldhave to be ripped up."

The Rossis, who live in the 700 block of Day Spring Drive, said they warned developers of blocked storm drains in the front and back of the house when they first moved in, but nothing was ever done.

The developer, the KMS Group of Columbia, has now regraded the back of the row of town homes, laid grass and put up fences to catch runoff from the dirt mounds that stretch for acres onthe site.

KMS Vice President Robert Strott said Friday that the flooding occurred when the rain caused rocks and hay -- which surroundstorm drains at construction sites to prevent debris from entering the pipes -- to clog the drain.

He said everything is being done torestore the Rossi home to its original condition, including laying down new carpeting.

The flooding started at 7 a.m., when Debra Rossi had to run some errands with her son. There was about a foot of water in the back and front of the house, she said. When she returned, she said, the water was more than 2 feet deep.

Neighbors with a boat tried to unblock a storm drain in the back yard, but were unsuccessful. She called the builders, Ryan Homes, but with no construction crews on site, nothing could be done.

Finally, she called the fire department. The fire department called the county, but Debra Rossi said it took an erosion control supervisor nearly three hours to get to the scene. In the meantime, Debra's Rossi's furniture was moved to a neighbor's town home.

Finally, someone called KMS, which had a crew on site right away and took care of the problem. "KMS has been great," Debra Rossi said. "They saw what needed to be done and did it. Itwas simple."

The couple said that workers from Ryan Homes have replaced her carpets, but getting someone to replace the damaged furniture is a problem. She said the accident is not covered under her homeowner's policy, since it is considered an act of God, and she doesn'twant her insurance company to pay for the damage because it would increase her premiums.

Strott said KMS' insurance company is meetingwith the Rossis' insurance company, and the matter will be settled to everyone's satisfaction.

Strott said the problem stems from county regulations that require stones and hay to be placed around storm drains at construction sites to prevent mud and other material from clogging the drain.

He said the stones are situated around the drain, but the amount of rain that fell Saturday pushed them up to the mouth of the drain, causing it to clog.

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