Old Flooding Concerns Resurface On BSL's Union Street

Many residents on Union Street in Bay St. Louis say the 10 homes Habitat For Humanity recently built at the end of their street have compounded an already frustrating flooding problem.

Seeing water in his yard after a heavy rain storm is nothing new to Clarence Sheppard. But, he says, what he saw when he opened his front door Wednesday morning was shocking.

"It was about halfway in my yard. I told my wife, 'If it keeps on going like this, we're going to be flooded out again.'"

Katrina pushed four feet of water into his home. Sheppard thought it was happening again Wednesday morning.

"We use to not have this problem until Habitat started building these houses down here. Now it's just got worse and it looks like nobody is doing nothing about it," Sheppard said.

Councilman Jeffery Reed also believes the new homes on Union Street are to blame for the new flooding problems.

Reed says the problem started when Habitat began building homes without properly opening up the drains to release water. He hopes to fix the problem, before it gets worse.

"As you can see, the water is running on top of the driveways instead of under the driveways. And they're proposing to build 60 more units on this street and the problem has not been fixed yet, so I'm totally against what their doing here," Reed said. "I think our citizens don't deserve to live like this. Water is almost in their homes."

Habitat's Hancock County Project Manager Wendy McDonald disagrees. She told WLOX News, "We did all the things we needed to do not to aggravate the drainage problem. In actuality, the problem probably would have been a lot worse if we had not improved drainage in the area."

Councilman Reed plans to put pressure on the city to use some of the federal dollars earmarked for drainage improvements on Union Street.

The city engineer said if constriction had been completed on the Habitat homes, flooding may not have been as bad.

by Al Showers