• Duke Energy forced to lift transformer submerged in flooded Gotha waters

    By: Karen Parks

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Duke Energy has been forced to get involved in a Gotha neighborhood where lakefront homes have been flooded for months by having to lift a transformer submerged in waters.

    Gotha residents have been seeking answers for months from the city as to why area roads and developments funnel runoff onto their property.

    Channel 9 found that the issue has persisted for years as there was a recommendation in 2007 that county leaders spend $400,000 to keep houses on dry land, but it didn't move forward.

    Vice Mayor Betsy Vanderlay said she'd be asking state agencies and local government officials to do a thorough examination of the area to figure out what's causing small bodies of water such as Lake Nalley to continue to rise, but residents were still left with questions.

    Stacey DeHart and her husband moved into an area home two years ago.

    "We put a terrible amount of time, money, energy, blood, sweat and tears into this home," said DeHart. "We bought four and a half acres (and) currently, two and a half acres (are) under water."

    A county spokesperson told Channel 9 the county will not help pump the water because Lake Nalley is on private property and is surrounded by landlocked bodies of water nearby, meaning the water can't be dumped.

    Residents have been blaming mismanaged stormwater and uncontrolled development as some of the primary reasons for their property being flooded.

    Officials with Duke Energy even had to come out to the area to lift a transformer that was submerged underwater.

    "I can't understand it," said DeHart. "It's like you are going to electrocute us, give us malaria, or you've ruined every bit of wildlife out there and you're taking our homes."

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