Drainage issues, heavy rain put Madison County street under water

Madison County flooding

CHESTERFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Canal Street looked “more like a canal” than a residential road following days of heavy rain and years of drainage issues, residents said Tuesday.

Portions of the unpaved street, south of Madison County Road 150 North, were submerged under more than 12 inches of water when News 8 crews arrived Tuesday afternoon.

“This morning, it was 16 inches deep in the road,” said Frank Dial, a longtime Canal Street resident. “We’ve had water before but nothing like this.”

Several neighbors, whose driveways opened into the deepest area of floodwater, said they were “stranded” in their homes and unable to go to work.

Others were caught on camera attempting to drive through the water, disregarding public safety officials’ “turn around, don’t drown” mantra.

“I guess we’re asking for help from anywhere we can get it,” said Dial. “Everybody here paid a $500 maintenance fee for our drains.”

Madison County Drainage Board officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Local farming and irrigation methods may have contributed to drainage issues along Canal Street, according to Dial and other residents.

News 8 crews observed waterlogged cornstalks and cobs on lawns, in the water and covering the openings of the street’s storm drains.

“The drain there isn’t even working now because it’s packed so full of cornstalks,” said resident Josh Castor, pointing to a storm drain near his house. “[The elderly neighbors] have all been into the water at least one time today, trying to clear the drains out.”

Emergency management officials overseeing the county’s flood response encouraged residents to take a grassroots approach.

“Get out [and] help us,” suggested Todd Harmeson, a Madison County EMA spokesperson. “Clean those sewer drains out so that the water can dissipate. If you’re out in a rural area and you have drainage ditches on your property, please clean those areas out as well.

Free, pre-filled sandbags are also available to residents seeking to divert flooding ahead of future storms, he added.

The sandbags are available for pick-up outside the county’s highway department garage, located at 2830 W. 8th St. in Anderson.