FROSTPROOF, Fla. (WFLA) – Stacey Pfieffer’s home on Silver Lake was a dream come true.
She just bought it in April.
“Now it’s become my nightmare,” she said.
When Hurricane Ian passed with a good amount of rain but minimal flooding, Pfieffer thought she was in the clear.
But as the weeks passed, the water kept rising.
“It’s a couple inches every day. Some days it’s a half inch. Some days it’s an inch. It just depends,” she said. “It feels like it’s never ending. I don’t know when this is gonna stop.”
Silver Lake is spring-fed and water seeps up from the Florida aquifer.
Just over one foot of rain fell on the Frostproof area during Hurricane Ian.
In an email, a Southwest Florida Water Management District representative compared Silver Lake to a bowl, with no outflow.
The only way water can move out of the lake is through evaporation or through the ground.
“The issue with the lake water moving through the groundwater system is that the amount of rainfall we have received in a short period of time, has brought the water table up higher. This means that most of the lake water has nowhere to go,” wrote a representative from Southwest Florida Water Management District in an email to Pfieffer.
Meanwhile, several inches of water sit in the garage and first-floor room, where Pfieffer’s mother-in-law lived.
She has since moved out.
Mold is climbing up the walls in that room.
Pfieffer, her mother and her boyfriend are still living on the second floor.
“The water might not come all the way up here but the mold will,” she said.
So Pfieffer is packing up her most precious belongings to keep them safe.
She has a portage storage unit sitting in her driveway for her belongings.
Pfieffer, who does have flood insurance, plans to finance a camper this week to have somewhere to sleep on the property away from the mold.
“I think there’s something that they should really try to figure something out, so we can try to get rid of this water as much as we can. This way it doesn’t damage any more than it already has,” she said.
A SWFWMD spokesperson told 8 On Your Side the District and the Department of Environmental Protection are allowed flexibility to address emergency situations under an active Emergency Order.
“For instance, if the flooding threatens the safety of surrounding property, structures, stormwater management systems, works, and impoundments and also poses immediate danger to public health, safety, and welfare, then the District could work with the local government to authorize emergency pumping. However, we would need to ensure the emergency pumping would not cause impacts on someone else or another lake, etc.,” wrote Susanna Martinez Tarokh in a statement.
The city of Frostproof or Polk County would have to initiate those actions, Martinez Tarokh said.
8 On Your Side has reached out to county officials on this issue and has not yet heard back.