Storm Water Floods Business

By: Jake Wasikowski Email
By: Jake Wasikowski Email

Next to the levee and the railroad tracks in midtown Omaha, Tim Odorisio was in the process of moving his business to Bellevue. They stayed dry for many years until this weekend.

"We had to come in with waders on, actually, to get into our building and start seeing if we had much damage," said Odorisio, owner of Century Converting Company.

The storm drain back-up and a few inches of rain pushed the area to its brink, leaving feet of standing water throughout the company's property. Century Converting has been pumping water out of its basement for some time now. Odorisio said he thought if anything, it would've been the river cresting that drove them out.

"Compared to what you see on TV of other areas of the country and that, it's our little bit of hurt, but manageable," he said.

Large lumber sits on top of submerged railroad tracks, making it difficult for operation. The city of Omaha says their biggest enemy now is rainfall that can cause back-water and pooling in different areas of the metro.

In his home above the plant, Ed Rebarich has a pretty good view of the lot, but he said he's not concerned about the flooding just yet.

"When they start sandbagging, then I'll get worried," Rebarich said.

Odorisio says the company's lucky that they can still operate, and it should move to Bellevue within 30 days.

"You can look at it and say 'Why us?' But compared to somebody else, it's not our house and home, and we can still operate," he said. "So it's a small cross to bear."

The city of Omaha is pumping about 110,000 gallons of water per minute into the river. They've spent about $3.3 million on flood abatement.

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