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Hempfield pair sue over flooding

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Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Hempfield property owners whose Bonita Drive home was flooded during heavy rains over the past two years filed suit against the township this week in Westmoreland County, alleging poor construction and maintenance of a storm water management system allowed the repeated flooding.

Josephine and Lester Grimm claim that heavy rains damaged their residence and property and caused health problems.

The suit contents the township was aware of the flooding problem but failed to inspect the system to make sure it was working properly. The system was supposed to divert storm water into a retention pond.

Township solicitor Les Mlakar is unavailable for comment.

The Grimms said the constant flooding has allowed black mold to grow in their home near Fort Allen, which has triggered Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and other respiratory ailments, causing pneumonia and breathing problems, according to the lawsuit.

Josephine Grimm alleges she fell in the wet conditions and broke ribs and a hip.

The damage led to a loss in value of the home, the suit says.

In 2010, the Grimms sued the township and Hempfield Township Municipal Authority, alleging similar problems from flooding in 2009. The municipal authority was dropped from the suit, but the case is pending against the township.

In that incident, Josephine Grimm alleges that she broke her leg and suffered back injuries when she stepped onto water-soaked steps. Lester Grimm alleges he suffered a heart attack while cleaning up.

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