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Flooded Bartholomew County Residents Petition County For Help

Amy Shehan-Walker stands in a meeting room speaking into a microphone

Amy Shehan-Walker, like several other Bartholomew County residents, expressed the need for people affected by the flooding to get help quickly. (Rebecca Thiele/IPB News)

Weeks after heavy rains flooded many parts of Indiana, people living in two Bartholomew County neighborhoods still have water in their homes and yards. They say drainage issues are to blame and want the county to fix them. 

People living in the Armuth Acres and North Cliff neighborhoods gathered more than 50 signatures urging the county to install a drainage system.

But at a meeting on Monday night, the Bartholomew County Drainage Board said it’s not enough — they need signatures from owners of at least 25 percent of the assessed value of the property affected.

Armuth resident Amanda Burdine says that means they’ll have to start all over again. Meanwhile, people’s health and property are still at risk.

“They can’t use their heat because they have water in their ducts," she says. "They can’t use the bathroom because they can’t flush their toilets. Septics are backing up into their house.”

Residents say as new farms have come into the area, they've installed new drainage tiles to keep excess water off their fields — which they say has made the problem worse. 

County Commissioner Carl Lienhoop says even if the county agrees to help pay for a new drainage system, it will likely still be costly for residents.

“But like you just said, think of all of the money the water in the last two months has cost many of you,” he says.

Bartholomew County residents hope the county will also pursue federal funding. 

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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