Ocean Springs City Leaders Concerned About Drainage System

For the last four months, inmates from the Jackson County Adult Detention Center have been helping public works crews clean out city drain ways.

Engineering Field Inspector Johnny Groue says so far they've managed to clean 15 ditches by themselves.

But with plenty of other types of work waiting and few mechanical resources, Groue says there's not much more the city can do.

"Some of these trees that are in these drainage areas, you're going to need some large equipment to get in there and get it out. It's stuff that we can't handle," Groue says.

"At some point we'll get some help I hope," Public Works Director Andre Kaufman says.

Kaufman says the federal government is responsible for clearing debris from the 50,000 linear feet of drain ways.

The project's standing still though, Kaufman says, because no one knew which agency was going to do the job.

"Even though it's late in the game, we think it's worked out. Each entity knows what area it's going to cover. We just need the help to get started now," Kaufman says.

Time is important for two reasons. First, hurricane season begins Thursday. Kaufman says the city isn't ready for lots of rain should a storm strike.

"This is literally a time bomb. When we start getting rains, and we will, we'll get some significant rains. We're going to see some localized flooding,"He says.

And Kaufman says, if the job isn't complete by June 30th, the city will end up paying 25-percent of the bill. Kaufman says that could be hundreds of thousand of dollars the city can't afford.