Residents calling on city to clean catch basins ahead of Harvey
NEW ORLEANS – Residents and businesses are wondering what to do about clogged catch basins ahead of Tropical Depression Harvey.
Some of the same catch basins contributed to the flooding on August 5 and many locals are calling on the city to help their efforts.
One resident, Willie Jefferson, lives near General Taylor and Rocheblave. He says he has been trying to get the city to fix his catch basin for years.
"This drainage has been stopped up since 2013,” Jefferson said.
“Yes, I'm very worried because if it comes up that high when it floods like that, certainly it may come up a lot more if we get really bad weather,” Jefferson said.
He says he has done all he can to clear the opening in the catch basin, but he says the basin is full of debris and is blocked. The city estimates there are 65,000 catch basins and says about 15,000 of them need work.
In the meantime, the mayor’s office says that crews can only clean about 100 catch basins a week.
"I know they're not looking at every single catch basin,” Jefferson said.
Patrick Armstrong of the NOLA Trash Mob, a group that works to clean up and beautify the city, is pushing residents to do what they can to prevent catch basins from getting worse.
"We just got to get folks out. We got to clear what basins we can and report the ones to the city that the community can't handle themselves,” Armstrong said.
One resident, Jose Gough, saw his workspace heavily flooded from the recent storms and he has been trying to get to the root of the problem. He says the debris in nearby catch basins is a combination of dirt and trash, but when he tries to clean it himself, there is more.
The city does not advise anyone clean out the catch basins themselves, but for residents like Jefferson, it leaves him not knowing what to do.
"They keep saying I'm on the list and no one came out,” Jefferson said.
The city says to not throw grease or construction products near the basins and to avoid parking and blocking the openings. Residents are also advised to call 311 and get the incident number to follow up.