McHenry County

Flooding, Sewage Backflow ‘Terrifying' to Lakewood Residents

Outside Sarah Ryerson’s Lakewood home, personal belongings destroyed by flooding are piling up.

“This area has always had a problem with flooding," she says. "It’s a high water table but this has been unprecedented.”

Record-breaking rain has brought with it contaminated water and a backflow that has left some residents stunned.

Shari Ledermann has lived in her home for less than a year. The single mom and mother of five was unprepared for the surge of dirty water that came flooding into her basement.

“This past Monday I had five feet of sewage water in my basement,” she says. “It was disgusting. There was toilet paper in it. Yeah.”

It turns out the backflow problem has plagued residents here in the gates of Lakewood subdivision for some time.

“It’s the sewer system," said Village President Paul Serwatka. "We have a lot of water infiltration and the sewer system just isn’t able to take a lot of it on.”

The village has implemented some short term measures like putting in porta-potty’s throughout the neighborhood. And have deployed 6,000 gallon tankers to try and stay ahead of the stormwater and sewage.

“We’re reaching out to all of our communities," says Julie Meister of the village of Lakewood. "We’re reaching out to Mchenry County, the Red Cross, we’re looking for all kinds of help in all directions.”

The red cross has supplied residents with cleaning and disinfecting supplies.

With stormwater systems already at capacity - residents are concerned about what more rain could bring.

“When I start seeing rain, it’s absolutely terrifying," Ledermann said. "Because I know that the sewage is going to come up through my basement and there’s not a single thing I can do."

Village officials say more rain would only make things worse.

“It will erase pretty much everything that we’ve done for the last several days,” Serwatka said.

For now, all residents can do - is band together and hope for the best.

“We have amazing neighbors, that’s why we live here," Ryerson said through tears. "They’re incredible. I mean, you want to go, but how can you leave it?”

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