'Can't handle this volume of water': LaSalle residents struggle through flooding

Water levels along the LaSalle shoreline are so high that some residents are gathering up to 100 sandbags at a time.

Water levels along the shoreline are so high that some residents are gathering 50 to 100 sandbags at a time

A woman on her way to purchase groceries walks through a flooded street in LaSalle. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Homeowner Samueline McManus says 2019 was the first year since she purchased her home that she needed to sandbag her property — and she's owned her home for 26 years.

McManus, a resident of LaSalle, said spring water levels around her home increased in April, as they usually do. 

"Last year, mid-April, my lower level got flooded out. The water table was just so high," said McManus. "That whole issue lasted maybe three to four weeks."

This year, McManus said it has been "nonstop."

"The canal out front is the level of the Detroit River and it nicely backs up … and rolls up the driveway and meets the wetlands from behind," said McManus. 

When McManus first moved in — 26 years ago — it wasn't this bad. Now, almost every evening her driveway is flooded as the wind shifts. 

Some LaSalle residents have been picking up 50 to 100 sandbags at a time. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

"This is unbelievable," said McManus. "When I heard that sandbags were available but you had to fill them up yourself ... I don't think I'm quite up to that."

Thanks to help from LaSalle town Coun. Sue Desjarlais, McManus was able to place sandbags against the north wall of her family room in an attempt to prevent more flooding. 

McManus said she'll need several hundred more sandbags to fashion some kind of barrier to protect her backyard. 

"That will hold the water back to some degree, but I have three sump pumps — two in a crawl space and a third outside — and they were just completely overwhelmed," said McManus. "They can't handle this volume of water."

According to Desjarlais, McManus's circumstances are extreme, but they're only slightly worse than those of other LaSalle residents living near the water. 

LaSalle Coun. Sue Desjarlais has been helping residents coordinate sandbags pickups. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

"I think people are going in and getting sandbags 50 or 100 at a time," said Desjarlais, who added the LaSalle has consumed several piles of sand to provide residents with approximately 2,000 sandbags overall. 

Sandbags are available to LaSalle residents between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the town's public works department. Sand piles and shovels are available at public works, as well as Centennial Arena.

Desjarlais added that senior residents are welcome to call her for help. 

With files from Amy Dodge and Sanjay Maru


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