Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fast Water, Slow Drains and Hitler's Revenge

Every time the sky opens up like it has these past few days, I flashback like a segment in LOST to my freshman year in college when I owned a 1990, 2-door Volkswagon Jetta (I know, total chick car).

Although it was a great alternative to walking to school, this car was a complete nightmare for this starving student. Not only did the car require some kind of major maintenance every other month keeping me in an eternal poor house, but this vehicle, appropriately nicknamed "Hitler's Revenge" by a good friend, leaked water like a sieve from Hell.

The worst part about the leaking water wasn't the fact that it destroyed a $160 Art History book, or my mid-term art project, no, it was the smell that matured from the floor just behind the driver's seat. I'd often warn people that asked me for a ride that my car had a very distinct aroma–equating it to a hot burlap sack of wet spoiled potatoes. Forget the air-fresheners, it only intensified my car's unique fragrance.

It's safe to say that because of "Hitler's Revenge", I will probably never, ever buy another Volkswagon for as long as I live.

Flash forward some 10+ years and I'm answering a phone call from a neighbor living at the lofts saying that the deluge has caused the gutter water to rise over the sidewalk and slowly creep through her front door.

Naturally, my first instinct is to call Public Works to see if they know of any sewer/gutter blockages. If not, then what are the public's options to help protect their property.

From a call I placed in to Public Works on Tuesday I learned two things: “All drains and gutters in Santa Ana drain slowly” (clogged with the dreams of so many who have tried to make Santa Ana a better place, perhaps?) and the City of Santa Ana offers up to 10 free sandbags to residents, 24 hours a day at a self-service station down at 215 South Center Street (92703).

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Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I've attached a photo below that my good neighbor-friend took as he drove around the complex. All I can say is that I’ve lived here for roughly three and half years and I’ve never seen the water run this high, so this is definitely out of the norm.

Though this might seem like another dire situation where residents of Santa Ana are once again “assed-out” by the City, the flooding at this intersection will most likely need to be addressed when the City moves forward with their Go-Local Street Car plan…hopefully.


Unknown said...

I hear you on the VW experience. I will say this though, no one buys a european car for it's reliability or peace of mind. No, people drive them because they are fun and some are seen as prestigious. I bought my Golf to run on vegetable oil and last rainfall, I experienced my sunroof drains getting blocked my some debris...I returned to my car with a rain-soaked driver's seat and a slow drip coming from my visor. Luckily I had enough free napkins in the glovebox to make the situation manageable.

Anyways, as a first-time homebuyer looking at the Santiago Lofts, I have to say I'm disappointed, but not deterred. The amount and rate of rainfall has been very unusual. Still, it's a little unsettling to hear the drainage system's current potential is not good enough to prevent pedestrians from getting calf-deep in water.

Ben Dayhoe said...

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who suffered from 'the curse'.

As for your concerns, I spoke with the new director of public works and advised them of the problematic drain.

The problem with the photographed corner is that multiple streets drain into that storm drain.

As the surrounding areas develop, more drains should be put in place to lighten the load of that one drain.

I wouldn't let this freak deluge steer you away from moving here. If anything, these recent storms have helped prepare us for future inclement weather.

Glad to see you're doing your homework–we need more people like you in Santa Ana!