Drainage Ditch Erosion Threatens Backyards

A longtime drainage ditch is causing some headaches for home owners in one Harrison County subdivision.

Rainfall drains away very quickly. That helps prevent flooding, but creates another problem instead. The fast moving water is eroding the sides of the ditch and cutting into neighbor's backyards.

Several residents of Anastasia Place subdivision near Landon Road are worried about losing more of their backyards to the drainage ditch. The erosion has already claimed one privacy fence and is washing away at others.

The county is aware of the problem and a possible solution is already in the works.

"That was a big hole that I put some concrete blocks in. Then after Isidore, this was all washed out and my fence came in," said a frustrated Lou DeCampli, as he showed visitors his backyard.

The washed out holes are growing larger at the base of  DeCampli's falling down fence.

The adjacent deep drainage ditch is to blame. Tropical rainfall made matters worse.

"It started last year after Allison. The ditch actually expanded and I lost some of my backyard. And as each continuing storm happened it got worse and worse," he explained.

The ditch is draining more water than ever. The new bridge at the front of the subdivision is wider, allowing more water to flow faster. It's great for drainage but also increases erosion.

"I'm going to lose my backyard. My backyard. My fence is already falling down and my backyard is eroding. And the neighbors are even worse than mine," said DeCampli.

Two doors down from DeCampli, an orange fence barrier marks the spot where the wooden privacy fence is washing away. It's worse in another neighbor's yard. The fallen fence is completely gone.

Supervisor Larry Benefield says a solution is in the works.

"Certainly this is something we've worked on. We've designed a plan to fix it. It's an expensive plan," said Benefield.

He showed WLOX News the engineer's plan to shore up the drainage ditch. The roughly fifty thousand dollar project involves laying concrete on the ditch bottom and placing rip rap on the sides.

"This particular problem, we're aware of it. We're working on it. We've got a design to fix the thing. We're hoping to get some right of way. We're going to have to have some additional right of way," he said.

Benefield says the money has been set aside in next year's budget for the project.  Actual construction work should begin next Spring.