Flooding on Washington Street worries homeowner

Published 1:20 pm Thursday, December 17, 2009

While no homeowners in or around the city of Picayune have reported flood waters entering their homes, one homeowner who lives at the corner of Washington Street and Loftin Avenue has flood waters threatening to damage his home once again.

Ronald McDougle said the house he now lives in has flooded about 13 times in the last 25 to 30 years. His mother used to live in the house before he moved in and he remembers numerous times when the rains would fall, Hobolochitto Creek would rise and her home would flood.

After Hurricane Katrina when his home flooded, he contacted FEMA for help. McDougle said he was issued an initial buy-out offer from the agency but that offer was never followed through on. He also discussed having the home elevated through the Mississippi Development authority, but was told his income level was too high in spite of his current disabled status.

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“I’m at a standstill. I don’t know what they expect me to do,” McDougle said.

McDougle also is concerned about the close proximity of overflowing manholes, which means the sewage system is nearby.

“With those manholes overflowing, I’m pretty sure this water’s contaminated,” McDougle said.

With the large amounts of rain that have fallen in the last couple of days, local waterways are swollen, and McDougle’s yard is flooded again. Weather forecasts say more rain is probable on Thursday.

City Manager Harvey Miller agreed that there have been large amounts of rain, with about 15.1 inches so far this month. That amount has already broken the month’s record rainfall of 9.2 inches. He said it is hard for anyone to plan for that kind of downpour but whatever the city can do to alleviate the problem will be done. As of Wednesday afternoon, Miller and Public Works Director Chad Frierson were on their way to McDougle’s house to look at the situation and see what could be done, if anything.

Frierson said the pump station across the street from McDougle’s home was recently upgraded using FEMA grant funds after Katrina so it should be working properly. However McDougle pointed out that the pump was not making any sounds as though it was working.

Frierson said the city tries to keep local residents abreast of when flood waters may threaten homes. As for ways to get the flood waters out of the city faster, Frierson said he is at a loss for alternatives to what the city is doing already.