GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Blocked drains in the Ducksworth Pond subdivision bring fear whenever a heavy rain hits, but the barriers were put there on purpose by the contractor building this neighborhood, and it's perfectly legal.
The barriers, called straw wattles, are meant to protect the environment and prevent drains from filling up with debris at construction sites. They are placed in front of the curb inlet to keep the sediment from entering the storm drain system during home construction.
When torrential rains come, the streets flood in the Ducksworth Pond subdivision.
It happened with the April 28 downpour and again Tuesday. This time, Taronta Cole took action.
"I started panicking, so I came out here and sort of grabbed the straw wattle and pulled it to the side on a slant so the water could go inside the sewer," said Cole.
Cole said when he pulled it out, the flooding water quickly flowed into the storm drain.
"If it wasn't for the good Lord causing the rain to stop, my home would probably flooded," said Cole.
Solomon Shotwell said his car flooded in the last storm. On Tuesday, he moved his car to higher ground.
"I just had $700 worth of work done to the engine the month before to get it running so I can go back and forth to the doctor and stuff," said Shotwell. "Now, the car was underwater. It's no good. Nobody won't help me."
Gulfport Public Works Director Wayne Miller said the mandatory straw barriers are removed once construction is complete and grass is established to keep dirt from running down the drains. He said the inlet protection is required by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and is part of the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.
The environmental rules aren't the first priority for these neighbors who say when the next heavy rains come, they'll move the straw barriers again to protect their homes and cars.
By the way, the homeowners in the Ducksworth Pond subdivision say they don't have flood insurance because the area is not considered to be a flood zone.