Part of Fisher and Foster's problem, Hupy says, is that "Churchill and Mershon were built in a historic creek valley." And part is that, since 1980, stiffer building codes have required homeowners to construct large "egress windows if the basement is used as a dwelling, but that's the easiest way for water to get in."
According to Hupy, though, the footing drain disconnect program definitely isn't part of the problem. "[If] we had not done it, we would have had multiple sanitary sewer backups in basements on those streets," he says. "We've got data going back twelve years, and there was about 1 percent more water in the [storm sewer] system because of the sump pumps. I defy anyone to tell me what difference that made, and it saved the sanitary sewers from backing up."
According to Hupy, a 1997 study concluded it would cost $97 million to build a storm water "backbone" capable of containing a one-in-ten-year flood. He figures doing that work now would cost $147 million. "And the last storm was a one-in-twenty-five-year possibility," he says. "To maybe stop [that] flooding would cost at least double that."
Even if the taxpayers were willing to pay so much, he adds, "the state would not allow it because that strong a flow would blow the critters and bugs right out of the creek. And all that water would just go downriver to whatever town is next--and they don't want it any more than we do.