EGG HARBOR TWP.- Atlantic County residents are trying to stay afloat after rain continued to pound the region, leaving many homes surrounded by water once again.
The heavy rains and high winds that rolled in late Sunday night have since faded to a light drizzle. But the storm's fury sure left a mark. "It's never been like this, I mean we've had a little puddle here and there but this...this is the worst," said Fourth Avenue, Egg Harbor Township resident, Robert Herrin.
But this isnt the first time hes dealt with flooding. He says since the last snowstorm started, things have just been getting worse. "As you can see, I'm totally flooded out, can't use my septic, can't drink my water, my ground is sinkingand as you can see, I got my sump pump going, that just aint doing it."
One of the major problems Robert is facing is that in the 16 years he's lived in the township, hes never needed flood insurance, so he never got it and neither did his neighbors. So now he's stuck paying the price. "We never purchased flood insurance because we didn't need it. It's never flooded here. My neighbor's lived here for 40 years and says this happened 20 years ago we got 28 inches of water. He doesn't even have flood insurance. So I never thought for an extra $78 dollars a month that I would actually need it, but now I'm gonna purchase it, but its kinda late for that."
Not to mention the thousands of dollars he already put out for pump rentals and expects to invest to get his home back in order. "I've already spent roughly a thousand to $15 hundred dollars, can't tell you how much else I already had to throw away.I don't know if the sheetrock's damaged...I know the wood is because its all under water."
Robert says one of the things that contributed to the flooding is poor drainage off of newer construction homes that were built on higher ground. "When their water runs off there...it comes to the lowest point and is effecting these houses, down."
At this point, he's frustrated because the township said right now, there's nothing they can do. "They just say we have to deal with it and I don't think its fair as a tax payer, as a homeowner. I mean what do I have to do? Move to let someone else live here and maybe they'll deal with it?"
While he waits to see if disaster assistance will become available, he's hoping the sun will come out and dry up all the rain. "I wonder how much worse its gonna get. So we'll be out here pumping, that's really all I can do."
In a press release from The Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management, officials say residents and businesses that have experienced new or additional flood damage as a result of the March 29-30th storm should contact their local emergency management officials to complete an online damage assessment form on their website, www.aclink.org
County officials say information obtained from these reports will be forwarded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will determine whether state or federal assistance is necessary.
The FEMA inspection teams recently completed preliminary damage assessments in Atlantic County related to the March 12-15th storm. If and when the county receives a disaster declaration, additional information and instructions will be posted to the county website. Officials urge residents to continue to check the site for updates.