Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Drainage Woes Sweep Neighbors into Msd Conflict

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Drainage Woes Sweep Neighbors into Msd Conflict

Article excerpt

Some Edmundson residents are dreading the things that springtime brings to their back doors: flooding, rodents, bugs and neighbors' debris.

Spring rains for the McNabb family and their neighbors on Mill Pass Lane mean the return of the small river that swallows their back yards, sending garden tools, toys and even parts of fences into others' yards and creating a swamp that breeds rats and mosquitoes. Sometimes the water is more than 5 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep - up to the armpits of 4-year-old Kyle McNabb.

At fault are two drain pipes that dump water from an adjacent street into the Kratz Elementary School yard where it runs down through the yards on Mill Pass. The water must run past at least four houses before it reaches the first sewer access.

"It's hazardous to my two little ones," said Kevin McNabb, 38, a waiter at Casa Gallardo. "That water flows with the vengeance of a sewer, without the sewer."

Residents and city officials blame the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District for their water woes, saying MSD designed the drainage system but won't fix it.

Terry Briggs, an MSD spokesman, said the district would like to help them and many others - but it doesn't have the money. The project would cost $100,000 and is not in the next fiscal year's budget.

The sewer district has about $615 million in storm-drain projects to attend to in the St. Louis area, many with higher priority, Briggs said. That's what happens in an area near two major tributaries, the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. "It is impossible to do everyone's job when they want it," Briggs said. "We have limited funding."

The sewer district has a budget of almost $205 million this fiscal year, with about $114 million going to capital projects such as the one in Edmundson. Briggs said MSD may pursue a storm-water bond issue to get more money this year.

Projects with the highest priorities are houses or buildings that are being flooded. Briggs said MSD officials have known about the problem in Edmundson since 1988 and have found a solution: install a pipe to drain into a water system that can handle the flow. However, he doesn't know when money will be available. …

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