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Groundwater Saturation Wreaks Havoc In Metro

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(credit: CBS) Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Recent rains are causing problems throughout the Twin Cities.

Groundwater levels are very high right now. The soft land is leading to small landslides in backyards.

Tim Cowedry, a groundwater geologist with the U.S. Geographical Survey, says water is in great supply – but it’s not just the water you can see.

“When lakes and wetlands and rivers rise, the groundwater also rises,” Cowedry said.

And that can cause big messes. It’s helped make landslides in Eden Prairie which led to the destruction of a home.

It also created an unintended property line in Blaine, cracking Shafeeq Ahmed’s lawn into a four-feet split level.

“After the heavy rain, like, last week, we saw this split,” Ahmed said. “Half my backyard is gone.”

Ahmed says it was an on-going problem made worse by the elements. Now, his kids have to play out front.

“When you get a lot of rain that’s slow kind of rain like we had, you end up with a lot of water soaking into the ground and the water table rises,” Cowedry said.

He says the excessive groundwater gets between the soil granules, and things get even looser on slopes because of gravity. He says it also causes problems on flat ground.

“You end up with trails flooded, you end up with streets flooding and there’s no place for the water to go,” Cowedry said. “It will certainly get better, as long as it doesn’t rain more.”

As for a solution, it turns out Minnesotans are once again at the mercy of the weather.

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