Trampoline, other debris pulled from blocked drainage culvert
BATON ROUGE - A blocked drainage culvert is now clear after city-parish crews removed a mound of woody debris and even a trampoline Monday.
The canal along Mollylea Drive in Sherwood Forest had become an eyesore and spot of concern for residents.
A 311 report led to crews clearing the obstruction. The city-parish tells WBRZ the blockage was 'likely the result of late summer and early fall rain events, in addition to some illegal dumping in the canal.'
Anyone who sees illegal dumping should call Crime Stoppers. Other drainage and debris issues can be reported to 311.
Thanks to one-time federal relief dollars, the city-parish has put tens of millions of dollars towards drainage maintenance in recent months. $19.2 million from the American Rescue Plan was approved for drainage in late June. The Metro Council is expected to sign off on another $20 million for drainage needs later this week.
Since the first batch of those COVID-19 relief dollars were allocated in late June, 4 million pounds of sediment have been removed from drainage structures, while another 72,000 feet of pipe has been cleaned parish-wide.
Even while short-staffed, crews with the Department of Public Works have been able to clear between 60 and 80 drainage maintenance requests each week, according to an EBR spokesperson.
While the city-parish spends around $8 million on drainage annually, officials say it will take quadruple that amount to clear the backlog of projects and improve stormwater systems.
"I think the true cost of drainage maintenance is in the neighborhood of $40 million," Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kelvin Hill told council members last month. "It could be $42 [million], could be $38 [million], but I think it's in that neighborhood."
To raise those funds, a stormwater utility fee could be a possibility down the road. An outside firm is currently studying the feasibility of a fee.
"That is something that we see across the country," Hill said. "It is not a new idea, but it's an effective idea."
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