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Shindler Residents Frustrated By Flooding

June 17, 2014, 5:30 PM by Anna Peters

Shindler Residents Frustrated By Flooding
SHINDLER, SD -

Along with all of the water, frustrations are running high in the tiny community of Shindler, South Dakota. 

All neighbors in Shindler can do is wait and watch as the water surrounding their homes slowly recedes.

"This time, we had four inches in my rain gauge the day before, and then yesterday we had over five inches out here, and as you can see it's flooded everything again even worse this time than it did last time," Larry Stauffacher said.

Last time was July of 2010. Officials called it a 100-year flood. The damage was so bad some neighbors moved out, including Mark Long.

"Four years ago, I used all of my savings, my retirement, every fund that I had available to me to rebuild my life," Long said.

Tuesday he returned to the home he's owned for more than two decades to check out the damage, check in with his neighbors and see how the state is responding.

"It's the same old deal, only this time there's nobody here.  Last time, they were out here trying to help us and they didn't do much for us, but this time nobody's around and we just gotta stand here and look at it," Stauffacher said.

Despite the mess, neighbors say the solution is simple.  They say the culverts along Highway 11 are too small.

"I know they got as much rain on the east side of the road as we did on the west side, so obviously the road is causing the flood," Long said.

"I'm not an engineer but I can tell you one thing, there's more water than there is culvert capacity," Stauffacher said.

Neighbors say these culverts were put in in 1949.  Since then, the area south of Sioux Falls has changed a lot and the culverts can no longer keep up.  So they're once again begging the state to make some changes and protect their homes.

"I think the 100-year event can be thrown out.  This is going to continue to happen over and over until they fix the culvert. And they've had four years to fix the culverts and they haven't done it yet," Long said.

"Until they do something with the culverts, it's not going to go away and we're going to get some more rain all this week and I just have a feeling it's going to come right back at us again," Stauffacher said.

Long is one of five homeowners who filed a lawsuit against the state for damages following flooding in the same area four years ago. The last hearing in that case was in February. Judge Pat Reipel has yet to issue a ruling in the case.

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