OST ST. LOUIS, Illinois — Aid may be on its way to East St. Louis while emergency management workers assess flood damage. Residents are partially relieved as they remain concerned that the root cause is still being ignored.
On Terrace Drive, residents have still not been able to return to their flooded homes. They say they begged for a nearby pumping station to be fixed
“Let’s fix this — now!” said Marnita Sanders, who lives on nearby Mary Avenue.
Sanders lives where we’ve been reporting in the FOX files for more than a year — in an area that never seems to dry up.
“I want to get to the root of the problem,” Sanders said.
She speaks of a broken pumping station that was shown on FOX 2 last May and called out by the EPA in March 2021. There is no upper limit and it is so decrepit that it only works with the help of borrowed portable pumps.
“We’re not demanding that East St. Louis fix the pumping stations, we’re demanding that,” she said.
Meeting with Sanders, we spotted East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III. He had not answered our earlier requests for comment.
“We don’t run from our duties,” he said. “We try to manage them as best we can.”
What has the city done so far?
“Well, like I said, it’s under maintenance,” Eastern said.
The mayor agreed it needed to be fixed, adding that the issue predates his tenure.
“Anytime you have pumping stations that aren’t operational, when you have an event like this, that creates a problem,” said Herb Simmons, chief of emergency management for St. Clair County.
Simmons accompanied several agencies, including FEMA, who were assessing the flood damage to make a case for federal assistance. Simmons warned that the pumping station probably didn’t prevent the disaster.
He said it could have made a difference in other ways.
“Would it have receded quicker and we would have gotten the water out of there? Possibly it could have been,” Simmons said.
Does Mayor Eastern know when the pump will be back in service?
“As I said, the parts are backordered. We meet every morning,” he said.
The mayor thought he could see progress in six to eight weeks.
“It’s been too long,” Sanders said.
Citizens say they are determined to keep him there.
https://fox2now.com/news/fox-files/east-st-louis-residents-demand-broken-pump-station-be-fixed/ East St. Louis residents are calling for a broken pumping station to be repaired