Drainage controversy fires up Waveland homeowner

Drainage controversy fires up Waveland homeowner

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A major drainage project underway in Waveland designed to improve rainwater flow city-wide is not sitting well with at least one homeowner.

The $6 million project includes digging new ditches and lining them with concrete for easier maintenance. Residents say one of those new ditches was cut in behind homes where flooding has never been an issue before.

Before a ditch was dug out in Irene Babin's back yard, she called her retirement home and property a slice of paradise.

"I loved it at first sight. I love the property. The property is what initially attracted me," said Babin.

She says it's not so attractive anymore. Her back yard was landscaped and well-manicured. Now, she says it's a construction mess. On top of that, she says the ditch splits her back yard in half.

"They took the 60 by 120 piece of property and basically denied me access to it because you really can't get over there now," said Babin.

The unhappy homeowner says the project behind her house and her neighbors' homes is a waste of money.

"Instead of one culvert to carry water, they put two culverts. We've never had a flooding problem here. No one's home has flooded. The property does not flood," explained Babin.

"I certainly understand her frustration and I tried everything at my level to stop it, but if we would have stopped the project, it would have affected the benefit cost analysts on that and it would have messed up the whole project just by not doing her section of the yard. It's federal funding. We done it because we had to," said Waveland Mayor Mike Smith.

Smith said although flooding had never been an issue there, the project is designed to increase water flow in the area by 70 percent. If the new ditch was not put there, flooding would have become an issue.

"It is a necessary evil. That ditch behind Mrs. Babin's house is going to save seven different homes in that neighborhood from flooding," explained Smith.

The project is now in phase three. It was funded 100 percent by a grant from FEMA.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.