Resident upset with Newnan over house flooding

by Wes Mayer

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Mark McAlpin lifts a bucket filled with water from his basement floor. The McAlpins have to empty this bucket three or four times every day at their Roscoe Road home.

For the last three months, a Newnan family has dealt with flooding in their basement - not from rain, but from water constantly seeping through the floor on a day-to-day basis.

But that is not their only problem. Ever since Roscoe Road was repaved around a year-and-a-half ago, Mark and Linda McAlpin have been having issues with water in their home at 28 Roscoe Road. The construction project changed the lay of the land, they said, and every heavy rain sends rivers of water rushing onto their property. Since late August, they have been emptying three or four buckets of water collected from their basement floor every day.

'I don't know what to do about it,' said Mark McAlpin. 'Our basement is now nonfunctional.'

Until water began to seep into the basement, the problems had been manageable, McAlpin said. They installed a sump pump outside their basement door to prevent flooding during heavy rains, and McAlpin built a trench of stones and concrete between his and his neighbor's homes to help water flow away from his home.

Now, he has called water authorities to test the mysterious clear water seeping up through the basement floor, but they can't seem to find a cause or solution, McAlpin said. He said he is constantly worrying about mosquitoes breeding outside, mold and fungus growing inside, and the potential danger to his home's foundation.

On top of everything, McAlpin's daughter, Lauren, is autistic. She used to live in the basement. She can't now. McAlpin said he worries for her because this is the home she grew up in and feels comfortable with moving is not an option. Also, he is afraid that with the water issues he could never sell the home.

Overall, the McAlpins say they feel misled by the city of Newnan. When the road project realigning Roscoe and Sprayberry roads first began, McAlpin said the engineers and city employees promised to fix any problems that arose from the construction. Now, they are facing repairs costing tens of thousands of dollars, and the city is not providing any help, McAlpin said.

'The city is being so frustrating,' he said. 'They just don't care. It's the city's problem, and the way it is being handled is wrong.'

McAlpin said he would prefer anything over going to the lawyers - whenever that happens, everyone loses and the lawyers win, he said.

'Ultimately, we may have to sue the city,' McAlpin said. 'They literally dumped this on me, and now I'm dealing with everyone's water.'

The Roscoe Road project as a whole put McAlpin at odds with the city. When the engineers first came to the residence, McAlpin said they spoke to his wife, Linda, and told her they would fix any problems. She then signed a document giving the engineers permission. Soon after, McAlpin came home to find them cutting down one of their three magnolia trees in the front yard.

'We feel we didn't get full disclosure,' Linda McAlpin said. 'It wasn't at all what we agreed to.'

McAlpin said he tried multiple times to stop workers from cutting down the trees - parking his truck underneath them and removing construction tools - but eventually he gave in and the trees were removed. However, that wasn't McAlpin's only issue.

Before construction, McAlpin said the angle of his front yard was a downhill slant toward his home of about 10 degrees. After construction, the road was elevated to about a 45-degree slant. McAlpin said he knew the angle would send water toward his home, and he told engineers to level it out before laying down sod and finalizing the project.

However, the engineers didn't listen, according to McAlpin, and on the day they came to lay down sod, Newnan Police officers were present. According to McAlpin, he and his wife felt threatened by the officers and later called Newnan Police Chief Douglas 'Buster' Meadows to complain. According to McAlpin, Meadows said the officers were only there to direct traffic.

Meadows declined to comment because of potential litigation.

McAlpin also disagreed with the engineer's water flow plans.

The engineer planned for the water from Roscoe Road's street drains between McAlpin's home and Jackson Street to travel and exit out of a culvert between McAlpin's home and his neighbor's home, he said. The water, while traveling above ground, was then supposed to turn and run behind his home down to the sewer the next street over.

This has proven to be a problem, according to McAlpin. He ended up ordering concrete rocks to construct a trench between the homes to control water flow.

Still, he said, there is just too much water, and water can't go uphill. When the thousands of gallons of water flows down the trench to his backyard, it runs into a hill and has nowhere to turn but onto his property, where it collects.

McAlpin believes the water table may have been raised after this year's heavy rains sent thousands of gallons past his home. This may be the cause of water seeping through his basement, he said, but it is ultimately still a mystery.

At one point, McAlpin said, Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips came and investigated the basement problem, but told the McAlpins it was not the city's issue.

Phillips also declined to comment.

McAlpin said he is now forced to pay for construction to his home to stop the flooding. The front of his home may have to be remodeled and a trench will have to be built to stop the water flow. He said it may cost $10,000 to $20,000, money he doesn't have, and he has written to the city multiple times asking it to keep to its promise.

'At this point, [McAlpin] has written a letter making a claim against the city,' said Newnan City Attorney C. Bradford Sears Jr. 'So it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.'

McAlpin said he isn't asking for anything free - he realizes his home had issues before the Roscoe Road project began. He said any settlement would be preferred over getting lawyers involved.

'I don't want to have to go to the lawyers - if they just do the right thing,' McAlpin said. 'In my opinion, they have not been totally truthful to us. They have not held up on their promises and our home is now in danger.'



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