Undersized culverts source of resident headaches
DENHAM SPRINGS - Neighborhood growth in one area of Livingston Parish is creating drainage issues. At one time, a 12-inch drainage culvert in the Merryland Subdivision worked just fine, but that was years ago. Now Livingston Parish is saying it might be time for an upgrade.
On June 6, 2019, Baton Rouge and surrounding areas experienced a lot of rain in a short period of time. Water got into a few homes, including Amanda Breen's in Denham Springs. Last year, Breen made an investment by purchasing her first home. She had been assured the property didn't flood in 2016, but soon after she moved in a storm filled her property with water.
With each storm, Breen would sandbag her home, put her furniture on bricks, and do all that she could to prevent water from getting inside her house. Earlier this month, her greatest fear came true when her home took on 2-3 inches of water and she had to rip out drywall and flooring. A couple of her neighbors flooded, too.
"It finally happened," said Breen.
It stung extra hard because Breen thinks her drainage issues could have been prevented. She's been in contact with the parish for months. In April, the Department of Public Works cleaned out the ditches and blasted the culverts. DPW also learned there are about 60 undersized pipes in Merryland Subdivision that need to be addressed. Breen says she's also identified a problem area down the street from her where she fears there could be a crushed culvert.
"They were put in the neighborhood way back when, they were fine for the neighborhood, it grew," said Breen.
The parish says it is not aware of a crushed culvert and says Breen's home sits lower than others in her neighborhood. While the parish is aware the undersized culverts need to be replaced, it says it's up to the residents to foot the bill. Breen isn't sure her neighbors will be on board with the additional cost.
"Most of the people in here probably don't have the funds to do that," she said.
The new pipes could run about $340 a piece.
Councilman John Wascom says he's exploring the possibility of using money from the mosquito abatement fund to help with the drainage issues in Merryland Subdivision.
This week, Breen is drying out her house and searching for a fix to her flooding issues. The parish says Breen isn't alone and there are a lot of older neighborhoods with the same undersized culvert issue.