Moisture, the area farmers are glad to have, but in town, they've had all the water they care to deal with.
Mike Chaussee and photojournalist Tom Palanuk traveled to Napoleon and talked with residents about how they're dealing with the problem...
Napoleon, North Dakota is less than half a mile East...of West Lake.
A lake residents say has been inching into their town.
And into their homes...
(Kyle Haas/Napoleon Mayor) "This one here has got water in the basement now last week. For the first time ever."
Napoleon's mayor says more than 75 homes... run sump pumps... all year long
(Haas) "We got so many of them running in town now the water just sets along the curb."
Most residents wish the problem was just along the curb.
When Chris Sperle steps on his sidewalk.
Water squishes out from underneath.
It also shoots through a crack in the driveway.
(Chris Sperle/ Napoleon Resident) "That was straight, the cement heaved up and buckled it."
There are visible signs of the water table rising all over town. Right here this cone is marking a man hole cover. You can see where the road just raises and lowers as the water table shifts. Over here, this is a sidewalk. You can see how the curb is literally falling into the road. And this is Marshall Gross' grandparents house where in the basement they have four sump pumps running all year long.
(Marshall Gross/ Napoleon Resident) "We can't keep up, we got fans, humidifiers running, it's never ending."
(Gross) "I don't know what else to do at this point."
No one seem to know what to do.
The city invested 3.2 million dollars to add drains underneath the streets.
But no one seems convinced it will solve all of the problems.
The state told mayor Haas it can't help because the local water boards are in charge.
And the Logan County Water Board isn't sure the lake is the issue.
(Haas) What I know is basically can't prove it but, people that have lived in town 70 years old..as long as West Lake is up, we got water problems in town. Can anyone prove that's the problem? I ain't no engineer or whatever. I can't prove it, but that's just what people know.
Whatever the cause.
Whatever the solution.
Elmer Neigum/ Napoleon Resident) "There's a guy across the street over here his kicks in every 15 seconds. This one here is every 15 minutes."
Napoleon residents are sick of hearing it. (over sounds of sump pumps running)
The issue is complex.
Partly because there doesn't seem to be any place for the water to go.
West lake could drain into another lake to the north...but it's full too.
Mayor Haas says a meeting is scheduled Monday evening as the city continues to address the problem.
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