Flood Survivor: Lili Juskevice

When Lili Juskevice bought her two-story stucco home, she never imagined that she’d spend the next 14 years fighting sewage and seepage in her basement. But she has. At times, it’s gotten so bad that after she and her daughter mopped up the muck, they immediately got sick. Now that her daughter is a Marine and the elder Juskevice is at home, disabled and recovering from surgery, the family is seeing how it takes a community effort to deal with the water.

“I’ve been here about 14 years and I’ve had trouble with floods for 14 years,” says Juskevice. “It’s to the extent that I don’t remember a year where it hasn’t flooded in my basement. The problem is now I have medical issue and I can’t clean up my basement like I should be able to and that’s a challenge.”

Juskevice has spent at least $8,000 on fixing the flooding, replacing a rusted furnace and ruined clothes and mopping up the leftovers. “I did a backflow check valve system, installed by a plumber so that that supposedly would stop anything from coming back up into my house from the sewers,” she says. “I did that last year or two years ago, and still have had flooding.”

Have the fixes helped?

“I don’t think that much could help with the downpours we’ve been having. And I have rain barrels, but how does that help when I’m the only one on the block that has them? It should be mandatory or something.“

Would you work with your neighbors to fix things?

“Absolutely, as much as my disability would allow. That said, if people complain about it, they’ve got to do something. There are lots of people who just wanna complain and wait for somebody else to do something about it.”

Did you know about the flooding when you purchased?

“They put on there was minor flooding in one corner and then it didn’t flood bad until a little over a year later. I didn’t get to where it was like a foot of water in the basement for a couple years. At first it was an inch or two and I was like 'Oh, that’s not too bad.' I wasn’t really using the basement. I was so excited to be a homeowner. I was so naive. I was dumb.”

What do you want your city to do?

“The mayor and everybody has always said there’s too much water for the diameter size of the sewer pipes. They said that until they have the millions of dollars to fix that issue, this is never gonna go away. I’ve heard that from the city multiple times. That the old size sewer pipes are deep underground and they need bigger ones."