WEST MONROE, LA (02/12/20) Robin Smith and her family have lived in this home on slack street for the last 10 years. The canal next to her home can bring flood waters onto her property.
“Since way before 2016, we’ve been flooding” she says. “We pick everything we own in the house up that we can, trying to save it because in 2016 we lost everything, we had 6 feet of water in our home.”
Even though recent flooding hasn’t been as bad as 2016, any heavy rain event swells the canal.
“It’ll come up to at least to the driveway, the other morning, Monday morning, it was at my doorstep” she says.
She says she’s called the city for help multiple times.
“We had water at our carport when they were going to turn the pumps on to get some of the water out of there, and they told us they were monitoring it and they would turn it on when the time was right” she says.
Not only does water come in, but sewage as well.
“This morning they came out and tried to get me to stop and they dug up my yard and fixed the sewer because the sewer station is connecting this one and the house next door and it keeps overflowing and putting raw sewage into my yard” she says.
This comes after making multiple prior calls. She says the sewage also gets into her bathtub.
“When we have to call them to come pump it, they tell us to call the plumber out at first to make sure it’s not on our end, and that costs somewhere between 150 and 300 dollars a time, and this is two to three times a month” she says.
She eventually received a response from West Monroe public works director Ronnie Turner.
“he told me that i needed to give him time and let him fix the issues and stay off camera. my problem with that is, is I’ve been asking for months for him to come fix and help and nothing got done until they got word of a news story” she says.
The city made the repair to the sewer line but smith told me they didn’t touch the canal. Mr. Turner told me that the only call they have received regarding sewage has been today. He says they had to shut the gates of black bayou yesterday, resulting in the back up that was eventually pumped out.
“We can gravity flow five times as much as we can pump out, so it takes a little longer for it to pump out vs. flowing by gravity” he says.
This combined with water flowing in from multiple tributaries leads to flooding.
“Her house is in a, right there by a canal, and of course when you have high water the canals going to get higher. and basically, when we get the pumps to pulling what the need to pull, we can get it out of the system. and i think if you go by now, you’ll see that the water is dropped, the water level has dropped by her house and back into the canal. the city has a plan, a future plan, for mitigating the flooding for getting the water, allowing the water to travel faster to black bayou, where the pump station is” he says.
The city has declined to comment on the exact details of this plan. We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.