Benicia Residents Worry Their Homes Will Flood When Storm Drains Fill

BENICIA (KPIX 5) – With a spring storm rolling in, some people in Benicia have stacked up sandbags in front of their homes.

They are worried about a drainage pipe that has overflowed before. And the city admits a replacement is overdue.

There’s a drainage pipe buried underneath the neighborhood and in major storms it can overflow, sending water onto the street and flooding the homes.

In preparation for Thursday night’s storm, local resident Andrew Estrada has built a sandbag fortress around his home.

“These sandbags go across the driveway so when we have a flood situation, it keeps the water in the street,” said Estrada said, whose home has flooded twice.

The most severe damage came in 2012.

“We had two feet of water in the house and 4 feet of water in the yard,” he said. “This was a lake.”

The flood totaled his 3 cars and he spent $200,000 to repair his house.

“The reason why we don’t have books in these bottom shelves is because we’re in preparation of a flood that we don’t damage our books,” he said. “Because in 2012, everything below 2 feet was ruined.”

A handful of Estrada’s neighbors on Saint Augustine Drive also suffered from flood damage. They too have sandbags out.

The city blames the 3-foot-wide drainage pipe for the flooding.

“A larger pipe to replace the existing pipe, through the yard and underneath the street of St. Augustine,” said Graham Wadsworth, director of Benicia Public Works. “And that would carry more flow and so hopefully the water will stay in the pipe.”

This week, the city found out the pipe expansion project will cost a lot more than what they allocated. So now city leaders have to decide if they want to spend the extra money.

“It’s going to rain tonight and supposedly tomorrow,” Estrada said. “So I’ll be up. I’m very nervous, just listening to rain.”

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