Drainage projects clearing Tangipahoa Parish waterways for better rainfall management

The goal is to get rainfall out of residential areas faster, reducing the flood threat.

HAMMOND-  Three months after Patti Kropp walked in to her newly purchased home on Al-Ida Road, the March 2016 flood moved her into a camper for the next nine months.

The struggle she and many others in the area experienced during and after the ordeal, coupled with the uncertainty of living between a river and a major outflow canal for Tangipahoa Parish, leaves her in a state of fear.

"Every time it rains we get scared that we're going to flood again," she said.

But there are three large scale projects underway right now, totaling more than $6 million, that leaders hope will dig away at those fears.

The work is focusing on dredging and clearing 62 miles of the parish's main canals and small rivers to increase water flow. Some of the work sites boast a lot of blockage that's been pulled up in the effort.

Drainage officials say it'll pay off with rainfall as small as a summer shower to as torrential as a hurricane.

"Most of the people that we talk to understand that March and August were kind of out of the realm of what anybody can really deal with," said Kiley Bates, administrator of Tangipahoa Parish Consolidated Gravity Drainage District #1, "But we want them to have some confidence that we're out there spending their money wisely and doing projects that will impact them."

Up next on the drainage district's to-do list is taking on more than 60 miles of outflow canals to take out downed trees. Part of that project, covering Ponchatoula Creek, East fork of Ponchatoula Creek, Bedico Creek, Natalbany Creek, Yellow Water River and Big Branch, is being covered by federal dollars because of last year's floods there.

That's a relief for Kropp who lives near two of the six waterways scheduled for the project.

"I'm very glad, it gives us a little peace of mind," she said.

And a little less panic when looking at the horizon.

That tree removal project is expected to start by the end of November.
 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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