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Possible root of flooding issues found, fixed by City-Parish

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BATON ROUGE - The City-Parish is working toward flood relief in the Zeeland Place neighborhood of Baton Rouge after a number of 2 On Your Side reports about poor drainage there.

Last week, the City-Parish removed a large water oak tree that was growing on top of the drainage system. Wednesday afternoon, a crew removed the stump and started digging to the drainage pipe below. Department of Maintenance Director Kyle Huffstickler says, following an investigation they found the tree to be an issue.

"Running the video lines, we ran into this location here where the roots had grown down into the pipe," Huffstickler said.

2 On Your Side has been following this story from the beginning when we were first contacted by Zeeland Place resident Darrell Rivers in April. About three years ago, Rivers moved into his home on Letitia Street off Hundred Oaks. He says each time it rains water backs up and floods his street, often reaching his property slab.

"It's taken water into our kitchen area at least twice over the past three years," Rivers said earlier this month.

With a rainstorm a few weeks ago, Rivers' home took on water for the third time.

Last month, Transportation and Drainage Director Fred Raiford met with 2 On Your Side, Rivers and his neighbors to discuss their concerns. Raiford promised the residents that he'd hire a team to run a camera underground to take a closer look. A few weeks later, that team arrived to clean out the pipes and record what they found.

Turns out, they found something. The pipe under where the tree was removed will be dug up and replaced with a new 24-inch pipe. The City-Parish will also build a large catch basin with a drainage grate on top.

"I'm sure we'll see some improvement," Huffstickler said. "Is it going to be the catch-all to fix the whole problem in the area? Probably not."

It's a huge step in the right direction. And as Rivers watched as the City-Parish dug up the ground and the problematic pipe, he's optimistic it'll improve the drainage situation.

"It'll be an experimentation," Rivers said.

He's happy to see progress and quick action by the City-Parish after 2 On Your Side got involved and answered his call for help.


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