ANDERSON — David Odom carefully watched the receding White River floodwaters with dread.
“Yeah, Merry Christmas,” he said while looking out the window of his father’s home in the 900 block of East 10th Street on Monday.
David Odom and his nephew, D.J. Odom, were standing in the kitchen of the home with a huge drain running between them. The hose, filled with dirty river water from a flooded basement, snaked through the cheerfully decorated home and out the front door to a storm drain.
The heat from the home had to be turned off and the rising floodwaters had caused a water heater to float in the basement like a fishing bobber.
“This baffles us because we have had 19-foot water before and not had it in the house,” said D.J. Odom.
The home, located north of the White River, is owned by elderly family members and backs up to a newly constructed levee being installed to protect property owners in the area.
And it might have protected owners – if flap gates had been installed the same time piping was installed in the levee separating the river from the Odom home.
“The back flow preventers were not put on, now the water just flows directly from the river through the pipes,” David Odom said.
Mike Spyers, the engineer for the city of Anderson, said the earth work has been done, but gate wells, top gates and a concrete retaining well have yet to be completed.
The city initially said it would take six months to install the levee, but delays have since pushed back the date almost a year.
“It should be done June of 2014,” Spyers said.
Spyers said the floodwaters have crested at 18.8 feet making it the ninth highest flooding event in the city’s history.
“The flooding right now is equivalent to flooding in 1990, but it was higher in 2003,” he said.
Spyers said the Odom home did experience flooding because flap gates had not been installed on the pipes.
“They should be installed as soon as they get them,” he said.
The Odom family said they were frustrated by the city’s lack of assistance.
David Odom even went so far as to flag down deputy mayor Pete Heuer who had been driving up and down the road to survey the situation.
“We went out and stopped him,” David Odom said.
Heuer said he had been monitoring the flooding all weekend in areas where flooding is typically seen.
“I heard these folks were having issues,” Heuer said while standing in the family’s kitchen.
After a few moments of discussion, Heuer left the family to continue cleaning up their flooded home.
David Odom disagreed with Heuer that the flooding was typical.
“This is new,” he said. “We have had someone in our family living here since the flood of ‘64. When it is at 19 feet, it is in the yard, not in the house.”
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Flooding help During times of flash flooding, city residents can contact the Emergency Management Dispatch Center, 931 Gene Gustin Way, for sand bags. Emergency relief is provided to residents on a case-by-case basis. Those needing immediate assistance with floodwaters or those who have been displaced by flooding can call the American Red Cross at (888) 684-1441.