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Property caving in for years, homeowner can't find relief

5 years 11 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, June 05 2018 Jun 5, 2018 June 05, 2018 6:31 PM June 05, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ

DONALDSONVILLE - A drainage pipe busted underground and it's been causing problems for a homeowner for nearly a decade.

Keith Bradford says he can't seem to find anyone who wants to take responsibility and it should have been repaired a long time ago.

"It was a little small hole," said Bradford. "It just kept getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger."

Bradford says his property, which backs up to start of Bayou Lafourche, twists and turns. In one area, the land has caved in forming a hole that's large enough to fit a few cars. At the bottom of that hole, Bradford says there is a broken pipe and a pool of water.

"It's 10-foot deep with water in it," he said. "I'm scared somebody might fall in there and drown or something."

Bradford's family has owned the same property he currently lives on since the 1880s. He says the pipe was originally installed in the 1950s. That pipeline carries drainage water from the City of Donaldsonville, through his property, to Bayou Lafourche. Now when it rains, that water floods his property instead of draining where it's supposed to.

"Like a river," he said.

For years Bradford says he's gone back and forth with Ascension Parish, the West Ascension Drainage Board, and Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District about who will fix the busted pipe.

"They're always trying to put the finger on somebody else," he said.

In 2016, the issue was brought before the drainage board and the fresh water district to see what can be done to resolve the problem. Since then, no solution has been made.

The issue might be determining who placed the pipe there in the first place. Which to this day remains unknown.

Ben Malbrough of Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District was at that meeting. He said then he hoped he could resolve the issue. Tuesday, he says, "once the proper authority is identified as to who owns the pipe, the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District has and continues to stand willing to cooperate and help facilitate an amicable solution for all parties."

Ascension Parish says its Department of Public Works has been out to this property to inspect the problem. It says any servitude along the bayou would be maintained by the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District. It also says it's not sure who owns the drainage pipe in question.

Other than inspecting the problem, Ascension Parish says it cannot pinpoint a cause because it does not have a drainage servitude on the property. Bradford says he will not sign off on a right-of-way with the parish but instead will grant them permission to do any necessary work needed.

Ascension Parish also says it is ready to assist the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District in whatever manner it can.

Bradford says it's time someone made a decision.

"It's only going to get bigger and cost more to fix," he said.

Tuesday, 2 On Your Side reached out to the City of Donaldsonville regarding the drainage pipe but did not hear back by the time the story aired.

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