Homeowners in Bermuda Dunes say sandbags found in drainage pipes around the Easthaven Apartments may be to blame for the damage that was done to their home in a rain storm last summer.
Almost a dozen sandbags were pulled out of a drainage system earlier this month by the Riverside County Department of Transportation and Land Management Agency.
“They found that the overflow pipe was deliberately blocked with sand bags, and so there’s the question if they were washed in there, but there’s no way because they were stacked and there’s no way they could have washed in like that,” says Jim Dewyer.
Dewyer’s home was damaged by the flood. The family does not have flood insurance so they have had to pay more than $75,000 in repairs to their home.
“It appeared as though the bags were stacked their deliberately,” says Mojahed Salma, Deputy Director of the Riverside County Department of Transportation and Land Management Agency.
The sandbags were found in a drainage pipe which feeds into a retention pond. Once the pond fills, the water spills onto a tennis court.
On September 8th, rain fell so hard and so quickly that the pond and tennis court overfilled and the water poured on to street and flooded the apartment parking lot.
Cars and trucks drove through the flooded street sending waves of water into Dewyer’s home.
“I had no idea about the sandbags,” says Bill Uster, owner of the Easthaven Apartment Complex.
Uster also says the sandbags didn’t make a difference since the storm dropped more rain than the drainage system is designed to handle, and the Riverside County Department of Transportation and Land Management Agency agrees.
“The storm was a Q200 storm and the area is only designed to handle a Q100 storm, so it’s double the amount of water,” says Salma.
Salma also says since the drainage system is located on the apartment property it is the property owners responsibility to make sure it is working properly.