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Double Water Woes for Local Family

The Adams Street home flooded twice in the last six months.

Last month, the Rivera family got new floors, dry wall, molding and furniture. The heavy rains Cinnaminson had in April caused at least five inches of water to ruin the entire first floor of their cape style home. It ruined all the ductwork in their crawlspace and their air conditioning and heating units.

Repairs were nearly $9,000, not including the money spent to stay at hotels and keep their dogs in a kennel.

When , Barbara Rivera prepared as much as she could. She put her furniture on risers but the new floor; well she had to take her chances.

A few days after Irene hit, Barbara was ripping up the hardwood bamboo slats and moving them to the front of her house as trash.

“It’s a nightmare,” Rivera said.

When Rivera moved here in 2003, she didn’t know the house not only sat in a flood zone, but also was so low.

“There’s nothing you can do,” Rivera said, “other than raise the house.

Rivera and her family moved here from northeast Philadelphia because of the school district. Her daughter is 19 and her son is 17, and starting his senior year at Cinnaminson High School.

“It’s a hassle,” Rivera said of the flooding happening right around the beginning of school. “It’s very inconvenient—and costly.”

Days after Hurricane Irene, it wasn’t even safe for the family to sleep at the house because of the smell and airborne particles.

“It’s still in the air,” she said.

And Barbara has had to do a lot of this on her own. Since the Sunday after Hurricane Irene, Barbara husband, a PECO employee, has had to work 18-hour days.

“We can’t do this again,” Rivera said. “He shouldn’t have to spend his overtime, his money to go on vacations, to fix this house every time it rains. If we were told it flooded like this, we would have never lived here.”

Rivera has looked into a real estate lawyer since she and her husband feel there may have been some wrongdoing when they settled on their house.

But for now, Rivera is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency aid. Burlington County was received approved for aid, and residents and business owners can apply now.

“Now, we wait,” she said.

Ray Budden September 13, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I live behind them on Jefferson and our neighborhood was swamped. We were in knee deep water by 2:00 am and high tide wasn't until 6:30. It's getting to the point where I wish FEMA would just buy our houses and send us on our merry way. I also purchased in 2003 and I learned it was a Federal Flood Zone the day before Settlement when my Insurance Company told me I needed flood insurance, no one else told me I was in a flood zone (seller or Realtors). I wish them the best of luck with this latest mess.
silvana September 13, 2011 at 05:45 PM
My house have the same problem!
FbS September 13, 2011 at 05:55 PM
horrible.. We wish them luck with this...
Barb Rivera September 13, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Thank you.. Still waiting on flood insurance adjuster to come out to our home. We have been told it will take at least 3 weeks as they are swamped with claims. In the meantime we have no use of entire first floor. No AC as all of our brand new ductwork was submerged in water and no heat( don't need that yet). Something needs to be done and it needs to happen now. I hope that the township will work along side of FEMA and raise the few houses that seem to flood quite often. We were told we were in a 1 in every 100 yrs flood zone..3 major floods in 8 yrs... Obviously this was a out right lie and in my opinion Fraud!!
FbS September 13, 2011 at 11:27 PM
actually Barb, this can and does happen. Its only an estimate.. No one can tell what mother nature is going to do. 100 year flood zone means in the best of someones estimate it will flood once in 100 years, but this is not always the case and you see. It can and does happen as no one can predict the weather 100%. I do this for a living so trust me... its not fraud
Barb Rivera September 14, 2011 at 05:01 AM
In our case after living here a few months and receiving a few inches of rain our front and rear yard would flood often. The previous owner had 2 daughters, one in the neighborhood and one in California... Well he chose the one in Cali to sell this house and she filled out the disclosure... Fraud.. She never lived here. Why wouldn't he pick the local daughter.. Hhmmm maybe she has a conscious and has to live in the area.
Padrigin September 14, 2011 at 01:48 PM
Isn't this the neighborhood that the kids called "the swamps"? It's low and Rt 130 runs downhill into it as I recall. Fraud? You bet.
Cindy Pierson September 14, 2011 at 04:26 PM
I sympathize Barb! We're still pumping water out of our basement (my former office) non-stop 24/7. At least we finally had a real low tide today, the first time in weeks. What's frustrating to me is that many of these problems could be addressed through aggressive stormwater management (or even active stormwater management). It wouldn't be proper for me to go into details here, but feel free to contact me through my blog here on the Patch and we'll talk.
Joe September 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Unfortunately buying a home within a few blocks from a waterway is usually a telltale sign of possible problems down the road. You said "Still waiting on flood insurance adjuster to come out to our home", so we can assume you do have flood insurance and it should eventually be taken care of minus the usual hassles of having to go through the problem to begin with. I call this another one of life's lessons. We all have those stories to tell I'm sure. I personally believe you will see many more of these "events" as home building has encroached on the floodplains of many waterways over the last hundred years or so. It would be cheaper in the long run just to buy out these properties and return the land back to a natural state. Downside to this is you will only get appraised value, which can be a lot less than you paid/owe. Good luck to you and your neighbors.
John January 09, 2013 at 04:08 PM
I really feel bad for U....The builder who built this house, I do not know when, is the one who put all these people in harms way....To bad there is no way to go after him or them....I guess he just wanted the money....Hope it works out for U....
Cindy Pierson January 09, 2013 at 10:14 PM
It isn't always the builder's fault. My house was built in 1889 and has always been in my family. Our flooding problems didn't start until the area became more and more developed. Development close to the waterways changes the way rain and snow melt behave. Instead of being able to infiltrate gradually into the water table through the ground, run-off is channeled into the creek much more rapidly. Since the shopping center at Rt.130 & Union Landing Rd was built (replacing the woods), the water level in the creek has risen about a foot, the speed of the incoming and outgoing tides has increased dramatically, and we've lost about 15 feet of creekbank along 50 feet of our property. People complain about the stormwater laws, but there isn't much else to do to compensate for the lack of common sense, short sightedness and greed shown by developers and municipal planners over the last 30-40 years. And it's not that easy to just walk away from more than 100 years and 6 generations of memories and family history by being bought out.
John January 12, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Wow, appraised value would put U in a hole to begin with....The assessor has a different oppinion about the values of properties in this state....Any homeowner is going to be off from 30,000 to 50,000 dollars from there assessed value to the market or appraised value.....(cinnaminson) Our part time assessor is going to fight the people that are asking about there values on there tax bills....Oh well but we need new schools.....what a delema....
John January 12, 2013 at 05:21 PM
@Cindy, what has the Sewer Authority said about the problem.....They are in charge of waste water right...or do they just pass it right along to other people...Sorry about this problem....Hope there is a solution forth coming...

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