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Flooding issues concern local business owners

December 18, 2008
Fontana — The Fontana Corner Market isn't the only business to notice changes in the level of groundwater along Highway 67.

Bob Hutchinson, owner of Fontana Outdoor Sports, also has noticed an increase in the amount of water around his business and neighboring home.

Hutchinson's home has been filled with water on a regular basis.

He said the home has been in his family for the last 62 years, and this is the first time he has faced constant flooding problems.

Hutchinson said there is about a foot of water in his basement, and after he pumps it out, the water immediately returns.

He suspects that the recent construction near Highway 67 could be the cause of the groundwater problems.

Eric Hurkman, owner of the Fontana Jeweler, hasn't had problems with flooding in his business, but he has noticed an increase in the area's water level.

Near his business, there is a square manhole cover where water flows.

He said the water level inside it has been much higher than in the past, and throughout the summer water was constantly running through it.

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Last week, Don Ketterhagen, who owns the Fontana Corner Market property, said the groundwater around his business also has been rising.

Ketterhagen believes that if flooding problems continue, he may lose his business.

He recently noticed large quantities of groundwater forming under his gas station, and he is concerned that when it freezes it may crack the asphalt and damage the gas pumps.

To prevent this from occurring he has been pumping the water out, and he estimates that he has already pumped out about 100,000 gallons of ground water.

He is not sure exactly what caused the increased amount of groundwater, but he said the problem didn't exist when he purchased the property last December.

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Although Ketterhagen said he isn't exactly sure what has caused the additional groundwater to form underneath the station, but he has some theories.

He suspects that the flow of the groundwater was disrupted by the construction on Highway 67 and Porter Court Plaza. He also suspects Alliant Energy's recent burial of utilities or the changes created by the Cliffs of Fontana may have disturbed the natural flow of groundwater.


Last week, Fontana Public Works Director Craig Workman said the change in the water level could be man-made, but he also thinks it could be related to the unusually high amount of precipitation that has occurred.

"At this point, we have more questions than answers," Workman said.

Workman said he first was told about the problem two weeks ago and since then Hayden and Nyman have also been investigating the problem.

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