Thousands of homeowners in the Sioux Falls area have water in their basements. The dozen or so cleanup companies in town are overwhelmed with calls. For some homeowners, this is their first stressful experience with flooding; for others, it's getting to be old hat.
Four out of the five years that Val and Bill Ward have lived in their southeast Sioux Falls home, their basement has flooded.
"We were able to add two more sump pumps--so we've got three down there. We thought we had it but this was just a huge rain we couldn't handle with our three pumps," Bill Ward said.
They were among the lucky ones at the top of Intek Cleaning and Restoration's list but the dozen cleanup crews in town aren't able to get to everyone. Intek owner Jerry Berg has help coming from Minneapolis.
"We put out a call and this guy was the first to mobilize; he'll be here by 9 in the morning with a crew," Berg said.
But that isn't soon enough for the Jendersee family.
"When I stepped on the carpet, there were just waves, waves underneath; water under the carpet--panicked. Didn't quite know what to do; the sump pump couldn't keep up," Scott Jendersee said.
They called a number of cleanup companies, but ended up relying on the help of neighbors and friends. They couldn't risk having standing water in their basement because four-year-old Finn has chronic lung problems.
"If it weren't for our neighbors and friends that came over, I don't know where we'd be right now," Lynn Jendersee said.
The cost of cleanup and repairs to a flooded basement can start at a few thousand dollars and run all the way up to $15,000.
"And then we don't know if insurance is going to cover it either," Scott Jendersee said.
A typical homeowner’s insurance policy won't cover water damage if your sump pump fails or can't keep up with the water. But if you have a sewer and drain backup rider on your insurance, it should be covered in these situations.
But if water comes up through the floor or the walls, it won't be covered. No matter the case, the Wards won't be filing a claim.
"After a couple of claims, they asked us not to do business with them, so we're self-insured at this point," Ward said.
Berg says many lower-level apartments have been flooded and residents displaced. He says other homeowners are also dealing with sewer backup because of the pressure on the sanitary sewer system.