www.baltimoresun.com/explore/howard/news/ph-ho-cf-flooding-thursday-0915-20110908,0,2702891.story

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Retaining wall collapses, damages vehicles in Ellicott City

Sewage overflow reported in Elkridge

By David Greisman and Kevin Rector, dgreisman@tribune.com

5:33 PM EDT, September 8, 2011

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Six cars that had been parked in front of a retaining wall in historic Ellicott City now sit parked underneath of it.

A portion of the retaining wall fell Thursday, Sept. 8, leaving a large pile of rubble on Mulligans Hill Lane near a tattoo shop and the hilly intersection with Saint Paul Street.

Two of those six cars belonged to Elyssa Broumas and her father, Michael. Earlier on Wednesday, Sept. 7, their cars had been parked downhill on Maryland Avenue near the B&O Railroad Museum — much closer to a river that was swelling during Wednesday's heavy rain.

"We moved up here because we thought it was going to flood," Elyssa, an 18-year-old who lives on nearby Tiber Alley, said Thursday morning. "Lo and behold, we got an avalanche."

The retaining wall collapsed on her red Grand Am and Michael's blue Mazda.

"When I saw this, I wanted to cry," Elyssa said. "It's one of those things you never think is going to happen to you. This is ridiculous."

The collapse was reported early Thursday morning; fire and rescue crews arrived around 2:30 a.m., according to county government spokeswoman Samantha O'Neil. The county's chief building inspector looked at the surrounding buildings and determined they were not in immediate danger, though they should be inspected later, O'Neil said.

The Howard County Department of Health reported Thursday that as a result of the storm, a sewage overflow had occurred in a stream near the intersection of Dorsey Run Road and Lyndsey Way, in Elkridge. A news release stated that the "failure of a 18 inch feeder line" caused the overflow, and that because of the "accelerated stream flow from the severe storm, rapid dilution of the sewage discharge is expected."

The statement also said that a temporary bypass connection had been put into place and that progress was being made to complete the repair on Thursday.

Meanwhile, cleanup from Wednesday's storm and subsequent flooding continued in downtown Ellicott City, with people seen pulling wet carpet from their buildings.

Mojan Bagha, who owns Main Street Oriental Rugs in the 8200 block of Main Street, suffered damage not necessarily from flooding, but from a drainage system malfunctioning due to dealing with so much water.

Bagha was not sure how many of his rugs had been affected, but he was adamant that he and others in Ellicott City will recover.

"We want to say the phoenix will rise from the ashes," Bagha said. "The businesses will keep doing business. We have to have everyone stay united."

A couple of Howard County streets remained closed Thursday afternoon. In addition, Worthington Elementary School, in Ellicott City, was closed because it is without power, according to school officials. All other schools opened on time.

The county roads still closed as of 2 p.m. are: Furnace Avenue in Elkridge at the county line; Levering Avenue in Elkridge at the viaduct.

Several roads reopened Thursday, including South Entrance at Route 29, Marriottsville Road between the Driver and Driver Road, Old Columbia Road at the Middle Patuxent River, the 16100 block of Carrs Mill Road in Woodbine, the 15700 block of Woodbine Morgan Road in Woodbine, Woodland Road (from middle of road off of Old Annapolis Road to Centennial Park entrance), and Florence Road below Mullinix Mill Road in Mt. Airy.

Showers and thunderstorms were expected to continue throughout the day and evening.

Staff writer Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.