Hazel Crest residents knee-deep in sewage after storms

HAZEL CREST, Ill. (WLS) -- Several suburban Hazel Crest homeowners are knee-deep in sewage water after basements flooded as Tuesday night's storms raged. As the rain came down, many residents knew they were in trouble.

"It's ice cold, bone-chilling," said Shawniece Ward as she walked through the flood waters in flip flops.

Like many on this block, a newly-engaged couple have lost clothing, furniture and the head start they had on their future.

"It's beyond amazing. Even though we know it is Mother Nature doing her job, but it still hurts and we get the backlash from it - and we lose everything," Noah Hayes said.

The rain came in waves and filled the nearby drainage ditch to the point sewage backed up in south Hazel Crest's backyards. And with nowhere to go, the water forced its way inside.

"It is very shocking to see something like that actually happened and for it not to stop -- it's crazy," Ward said.

ABC7's calls for answers from the city about how the better manage the situation were not returned. What bothers residents is their feeling of helplessness.

"Every time we have a heavy rain, this is what we get," said Charles Colston. "We haven't got any answers, I have been here going on 10 years. You see what we are dealing with."

Residents said that as they were bailing all the water from their homes, it felt like a futile attempt and they know it is going to be days if not weeks before they recover from this disaster.

Hazel Crest's Director of Public Works Jeff Hahn said the storm system actually worked as it was designed, but was overwhelmed by the storm. Hahn characterized Tuesday's severe weather as a 100 years' storm, but said, "that seems to happen every five years now."
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