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Chico Way resident has water, water everywhere
Barbara Wilhite knows it's been really wet lately. She's aware there's been more rain so far in March than the area usually gets in the entire month of March.
But there's been wet times before and she's lived on her property in the 7000 block of Chico Way since 1988. She's never seen her back yard like it's been.
"You just can't go out there," she said. "There's water everywhere. Sometimes it's actually cascading over the edge of hill and down my steps like it was a river."
Wilhite moved into the house in 1988 when she married her husband who has since died. He bought the house in 1974 and she knows the history of the property quite well. During the years, she's added a number of raised beds in her backyard which backs to Highway 3. She has a covered trellis, a patio, a rock garden and a shed in the yard.
It was last month when she decided to begin planning for her spring planting that she really began to notice the water. Her first call was to Kitsap County.
"They sent someone out, but he told me that it wasn't a county matter," she said. "He told me the water was all coming from highway and that I needed to call the State Department of Transportation."
So she did. She also called the Kitsap Health District and asked that they come out and test the water to make sure it wasn't contaminated water. She was worried about whether she'd be able to plant her gardens if the area was covered with water that was bad.
In all, Wilhite has more than 10 pages of notes from the calls that she's made to government agencies since Feb. 19.
This week, Niels Nicolaisen, an environmental health specialist with the Kitsap Health District, was able to test the water and confirmed that there was no bacteria in the water.
She's also has a couple of visitors from the State Department of Transportation. "They said its storm water runoff overflowing out of the gully," she said.
State DOT officials confirmed that there was a catch basin in the median of Highway 3 which is routed underneath the highway and onto her property. They suspect that because of the recent heavy rain, the water has overflowed the catch basin and is causing the problems.
But Wilhite said she saw state crews digging in the easement prior to the heavy rains and she thinks that caused the water to be diverted onto her property. The real problem is that she can't get to the location to observe what's going on, due to how wet it is and the slope from the highway to her yard.
As of today, DOT spokesman Doug Adamson said the state is calling in a hydraulic engineer to evaluate what's going on.Jacques Dean, road superintendent for Kitsap County, said country crews have been out to inspect and indeed, the water is coming from the highway, so the county can't do anything.
He did say that a neighbor of her's recently paved the shared driveway both residents use which was forcing rainwater onto Chico Way. Crews had sandbagged the bottom of the drive to divert the water into drainage ditches alongside the road.
As for now, Wilhite is waiting to see what corrective action DOT may take. But she knows more rain is in the forecast.
"I'll wait and see," she said. "But I still have standing water on the patio and just about everywhere else."