State blames clerical error for not locating warehouse permits
BATON ROUGE- The State Department of Environmental Quality blamed a clerical error for not being able to track down permits for a warehouse in Walker.
"That one got misplaced," Greg Langley with DEQ said.
The Investigative Unit checked with the Department of Environmental Quality on multiple days last week after no permits showed up for the Martin Brower Food Distribution Center. None showed up for the warehouse's address, or the four names of companies tied to the project. DEQ couldn't locate a permit either.
"Sometimes when people put things into our electronic data management system, they don't put it under the correct agency interest number," Langley said.
That mixup, had the state scouring its records for paperwork that appeared to not exist since it wasn't entered properly.
"It's just a misunderstanding," Langley said. "That's it."
For almost two years, the permit was nearly impossible to find due to the way it was filed. The state says it sent an inspector out Friday and found it to be in compliance.
Locating a permit was particularly concerning to residents around the Distribution Center. That's because the City of walker allowed the massive project on 26 acres to get constructed without a drainage impact study. Those are required in every parish around the area for projects of this size. Residents like Tom Pettitt have lived around the area for more than 30 years and blame a creek that recently began overflowing after the project was built.
"In March we flooded," Pettitt said. "We had four inches in the home. We just got the home put back together. In August, we flooded again."
Tonight, Pettitt is comforted knowing the company had a storm water permit. But, he remains deeply troubled that no drainage impact study was required for the warehouse by the City of Walker. As for the state's clerical error, DEQ says the employees will be told about the importance of getting the paperwork filed in the right place.
Last week, the City of Walker and one of the engineers over the project met with residents who flooded. They say nothing got resolved. However, they say the City of Walker is looking into options to help get the creek draining better to help in future flood events.