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Draper residents frustrated with city infrastructure after extreme flooding

Posted at 9:09 PM, Sep 07, 2023

DRAPER, Utah — Draper residents are frustrated with city infrastructure that made a potentially damaging flooding back in August into a catastrophic one.

After evacuating his home during the flooding event at the beginning of August and coming back to find four-foot-high watermarks, Ryan Archer's recently finished basement is a 100 percent loss, he said.

“Actual rapids, not just rain," said Archer. "It was something else that was allowing the water to flow at that significant rate.”

He thinks the damage residents like him are still dealing with is the fault of poor infrastructure.

“There's a huge main pipe right at the top of Rambling by the roundabout that, like, blew the whole mountainside off," said Archer. "That's not just rain. Rain's not flowing out of that pipe. It's something, you know, within the structure, the way that it was built, the way that the area is sloped, the storm drain position.”

Jacob Nielsen suffered damage to his car from a protruding manhole cover while driving in the rain.

“I hit it and it rolled up under my truck and just did a lot of damage, ruined my tire, ruin my drive line, my wheel, all that," he said.

Draper City announced Thursday the estimate to make repairs was only between $3 and 4 million dollars; to qualify for FEMA funding, the damages needed to be $5.7 million.

“Now they know how I feel," said Nielsen. "When I called them for help, they told me that they weren't going to do anything for me either.”

Draper is looking into "Small Business Administration" loans, but doesn't believe any residents will be eligible. In the month since roads were damaged, the city said most repairs have been completed, but residents fear it’s only a matter of time until the catastrophe repeats itself.

“It's so hard to get to draper," said Archer. "No one listens. No one cares. They just want it to go away."

Linda Peterson, Draper City’s Communications Director, sent the following statement to FOX 13 News:

“The city has closely monitored and maintained our storm drainage systems throughout the severe weather our community has experienced starting last winter. The monsoon storm on August 3 brought an extraordinary amount of rain in a short amount of time. All indications are that the system functioned properly but the rapid accumulation of water led to flooding that unfortunately affected many of our residents, as well as city roads and other infrastructure. We understand the hardship some residents have experienced and their frustration over not qualifying for FEMA disaster assistance. On 13800 South the City is looking at budgeting to add curb and gutter in an attempt to provide additional protection during severe rain events.”