Crews working to keep rainwater flowing

Published 11:27 am Monday, January 14, 2013

While people throughout Washington Parish are alternately getting soaking wet and suffering from cabin fever, the Bogalusa Public Works Department is on the job to help ensure they aren’t doing both at the same time.

On Monday morning Director of Public Works James Hall estimated that the city had gotten close to 7 inches of rain over the previous week.

“I had several calls this weekend from people concerned about water in their yards,” he said. “I had to tell them, ‘If it’s in your house, call me. If it’s in your yard, be glad it’s getting watered.”

City crews are working to make sure the rainwater drains properly, and they could use all the help they can get to keep the water from threatening streets and homes.

“I have crews going street by street with pitchforks picking up piles of leaves,” Hall said.

The leaves and small limbs, many left in piles on curbs awaiting city pick up, end up floating in ditches and, ultimately, clogging drains, he said.

“If you have a 5 gallon bucket of limbs or leaves, put them in your garbage cans,” Hall said. “Coastal Waste will be glad to pick them up. Or put them in a bag so they can’t float and get in the drain and stop it up.”

The rains have also put a spotlight on an issue Mayor Charles Mizell mentioned during a City Council meeting last week.

“We still don’t have the problem of litter solved,” he said before urging all city residents and business owners to make a regular point of picking up any trash they see, for the beautification and overall betterment of Bogalusa.

Litter often ends up in ditches, and it floats. Anyone who needs any inspiration to roll up their sleeves and get involved should glance at the ditches during the current high water period.

At approximately 9 a.m. Monday, Hall said the water on the Bogue Lusa Creek had dropped about 4 feet since Saturday morning, but that more rain was predicted.

He said recent drainage improvements are generally working well, but the current weather is not typical.

“Over the past week, we probably got 6.5 or 7 inches, but it was spread out over the week,” Hall said. “If it’s spread out, I can handle 10 inches, but if we get 5 inches in two hours we’re in trouble.

“We’re OK so far. We’re steady on it. It’s supposed to stop by Wednesday.”

That’s according to one forecast. The National Weather Service calls for rain into Friday. At either rate, everyone is encouraged to help those who are trying to help them and  take advantage of any dry time to slosh out and clear some debris.