Pascagoula residents express drainage concerns to city leaders

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula residents and business owners sounded off on the city's drainage woes Thursday night. City officials have been battling frequent flooding in neighborhoods and they don't know what's causing it.

Walterine Otis said she's lost a car, clothes and furniture twice in the past year because of chronic flooding in her Pascagoula neighborhood on the northeast side of town.

"I had to redo everything over again and I am tired," Otis said.

Her insurance also skyrocketed.

"In June, my insurance went up 90 percent," Otis said.

Otis and several other frustrated folks from across the city trekked to Thursday night's drainage meeting to get answers and seek help.

"The first time we took in water in our house was Katrina. But since Katrina, it has seemed to get worse," resident Pat Clement said. "We don't know if it is because of something Corps of Engineers did, we don't know what is causing it."

In the past, Pascagoula officials said several Army Corps of Engineers' projects could be contributing to the drainage woes. Through the city's recent investigation and meeting with the corps last month, they determined the problem is even more complex.

"It involves areas in the city, and Moss Point, and in Jackson County. The Corps has come to the table and helps us with a multijurisdictional plan to some up with some solutions," city engineer Jaci Turner said.

Corps officials shared with the crowd their plan of action to help correct the drainage around town. The problem won't be a cheap or easy fix.

"A problem with those sort of quick fixes, they usually back fire. They usual back fire on you or back fire on somebody else, and we don't want that to happen," Corps of Engineers Program Manager Susan Rees said.

Residents said they understand, but they just want to keep the water off their streets, and out of their yards and homes.

"Sometimes it rains so bad and floods so bad that if I have to go somewhere, I cannot back out of my driveway because my car will flood," Clement said.

"I want action and everybody out there wants action," Otis said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is paying for a study to pinpoint the problems. The city has an email list, so residents in the affected areas can be updated on the project.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.