DPW trying to keep city's drains clear and working
BATON ROUGE - From tires to shopping carts and bikes, the city’s Public Works Drainage Maintenance Department is trying to keep the city's drainage system clear and free of debris.
“I don't worry too much about this one. I'm worried about the one that's behind my house. This one does rise, but it drains real well," said Denise Coleman, a resident in the area.
With DPW clearing out the canal near her house, Coleman said it is nice to see them taking action.
“I was relieved because it's a sight for sore eyes,” said Coleman. “It’s not something you want to come out your house and see."
It's not just about the aesthetics. According to DPW, they are trying to stay on top of drainage by focusing on maintenance.
Kyle Huffstickler, director for the department which falls under public works, said his crews have been trying to maintain the drainage and keep them clear of debris since the 2016 flood.
“We've been working since the flood of 2016 to clear our drainage systems, do a better maintenance program, checking our systems and making sure that we have systems free and clear of debris,” Huffstickler said.
According to DPW, they have already cleared out about 4,000 drainage service requests so far this year, but there's still thousands of requests that are backlogged. Huffstickler says because of the sheer volume of calls they get each day, it is a challenge to keep up.
Also, because the department's manpower has been nearly cut in half over the last few years, Huffstickler says they are doing what they can with what they have.
"You can look at the numbers and see that we are working out there every day... But again the call volumes, depending on the situation, can be greater than we can accomplish in one day.”
Although they are short on manpower, Huffstickler says there are plans to buy new equipment in 2019 that will decrease the amount of people needed for certain projects.
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