Floods: is the city of kulmbach responsible??

"This can’t go on", says thomas hofmann. The lawyer from kulmbach represents one of the approximately 60 shareholders of the achat hotel, which has been affected by flooding several times in the past years. "Since 2002, my client has suffered his third gross loss." Hofmann is convinced that undersized sewers are to blame – and therefore the city of kulmbach is responsible.

The three major incidents of damage that hofmann refers to occurred in 2002, 2017 and 2018. In june 2002, torrential rains caused chaos in many parts of the city.

The 2017 whitsun flood caused millions in damage to the achat hotel. And only a few weeks ago, after another storm, huge masses of water had run into the basement of the hotel. According to thomas hofmann, this will not be the last time: "that this will happen again – the probability is not small."

"This is what case law sees"

For the lawyer from kulmbach, these three events, which occurred relatively close to each other in time, are the best proof that this is not a flood of the century, as is often claimed. "This is also the opinion of the courts", he emphasizes.

And not only that, says hofmann, referring to a letter to the editor by architect and expert jurgen ohrlein from rothwind, which appeared in the weekend edition of the bayerische rundschau of 21./22. July 2018 was published. Ohrlein blames the city of kulmbach’s misguided wastewater policy, which allows shallow sealing of the soil and has dispensed with a split wastewater fee. The result: frequent flooding.

With his letter to the editor, ohrlein spoke from the lawyer’s soul and provided him with a piece of the mosaic that could possibly come in handy in the future.

Because hofmann has initiated a so-called independent evidence procedure, with which, in his words, damage and responsibilities can be determined relatively quickly by an expert. "This procedure serves as preparation for a possible lawsuit against the city of kulmbach – which, however, does not necessarily have to come", he explains. Hofmann submitted the corresponding application to the civil division of the bayreuth district court, which forwarded the letter to the city of kulmbach. The lawyer has already received the expert’s opinion.

As our portal has learned, the public utility company is requesting that the request for evidence be rejected with costs. Their director stephan proschold explains on inquiry of our newspaper that he cannot comment on the concrete case "because it concerns an ongoing procedure".

"According to the state of the art

In general, however, he makes it clear that 2002, 2017 and also 2018 were heavy rainfall events "which, according to the available measurements, were in each case above the hundred-year rainfall events".

The municipal utility met the technical specifications and requirements for the dimensioning of the sewer cross-sections during the planning of the sewer network. "At present, the channels are designed according to the state of the art for a five-year rainfall event." Heavy rains, which are in the range of a hundred-year rainfall event, could not and did not have to be carried away by the canal system. "It is also the responsibility of the owner to take precautions here."

Designing the sewer system for a centennial event cost 365 million euros.

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