I, like a lot of Austin residents, experienced the disastrous flood/sewer backup on July 2. I had been gone all morning and got worried about my basement flooding as I heard of all the flooded streets and viaducts. I was on the South Side, and finding a way home by a route that doesn’t include a viaduct proved to be a challenge. 

Once home, my basement had some seepage coming through the floor. I immediately put the standup pipe in my only drain as the water within it began to rise. However it was the drain just outside my back door that sent the majority of water in. I knew I was fighting a losing battle, so I went upstairs to take a nap.

Once the water receded, I began the chore of cleaning and, more importantly, sanitizing my basement. I have lived in my house for 34 years and I have experienced major flooding 3-4 times. The last time was around 2015-16, so as I store things in my basement, I know to use pallets or stands so that my appliances aren’t sitting directly on the floor. That helped, but I still had things that got wet and ruined. The things that could be saved was the most time-consuming. 

One of the things I learned is to organize as I clean. Nothing is worse than having to search for something and not have a clue where I put it. I have a lot of plastic bins, but when the items in it weren’t heavy, the bins floated and tilted over. I had one bin that had a tricycle sitting on top so I was sure it wouldn’t get water. But it did because it had a crack in it and everything in it got wet and ruined. 

I had a couple of bins that tilted over and found a bunch of bathroom rugs that I had completely forgotten about. I was able to wash them at home and save them. Several large comforters got wet and I had to take them to the laundromat. The last time I went to a laundry was over 30 years ago, and the cost to wash was like 75 cents. So to see machines costing $6.50 was shocking. At least the free dry helps. 

This latest flood has reinvigorated me to go back to working on projects I had been putting off. It also made me rethink where I store my electric tools. A couple of them got soaked and wouldn’t start. 

I’m glad that people pushed the governor and others for FEMA to come in and offer help. I saw firsthand the devastation as my next-door neighbor lost an entire basement filled with furniture and appliances to water that looked to be 3-4 feet deep. 

However, as a community, we need to stay vigilant to know and understand why we flooded so badly when other areas didn’t get any water.