LUTZ, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County had one pump in the Ladera subdivision off Van Dyke Road on Thursday. On Friday, there were two pumps, pulling water from the swamp near the subdivision’s front entrance and pushing it into Lake Merry Water, just across the road.
The swamp is part of a miles long complex drainage system, patched together by ditches, culverts and canals. Thick vegetation stopped up the drainage system, then heavy rains in July and August rose over roads, and into homes. For weeks now, heavy machinery has cleared paths, and high powered pumps are forcing water to flow. According to the county the water has receeded at least seven feet, but canals near Lake Cooper still overflow their banks.
Before the water went down, Kelly Peak’s home flooded. Water was in every room except her kitchen. Now the rebuilding begins.
“It’s insulation it’s drywall, it’s doors, it’s molding, it’s face board, it’s floors,” Kelly said as she showed 8 On Your Side her home. Wallboard has been pulled from studs, wood replaced, wiring moved. Kelly has been out of her house for one month. The last two weeks, workers have removed mold, dried it, cleaned it, and begun renovation.
“It’s hard, it’s financially hard, it’s emotionally hard, so yeah, it’s been difficult,” she said. She and others want the county to reassess the drainage in the Lake Cooper area, to prevent flooding from happening again.
“I just don’t want all this work that we just did to be ruined again,” Kelly added.
On the east side of U.S. 41, the county began pumping out acres of water that has backed up around 1st Avenue Southeast. “Just putting a pump out here saved us,” Cindy Feldhaus said.
Water covered Cindy’s road for two months. Flood waters that crept up to her home, caused her septic system to collapse. She estimates it will cost her thousands to repair flood damage. After 24 hours of pumping, the water level on her street dropped several feet.
“The whole neighborhood thanks you for the help that you gave us, because I don’t think they would’ve put a pump out here if you didn’t ask questions,” Cindy stated. She thinks with another couple of weeks of pumping she and her neighbors will be dried out. Though, anytime she hears that rain is in the forecast, she shudders.
“I kind of want to cry, because I think, how much more damage are we going to have? Mother nature is not being too good to us lately,” she added.