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House nearly washes away

ERIC J. SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — The Natural Resources and Conservation Service recently worked to fix an erosion problem near a house on Wisteria Lane that was in danger. The house was just a few feet from a 20-foot drop, which was caused by erosion from poor drainage and heavy rainfall. The NRCS replaced 120 feet of pipe and placed 1,500 yards of earth fill at the eroded site.

NATCHEZ — The Natural Resources and Conservation Service recently saved a Natchez house from destruction with 1,500 yards of dirt and 120 feet of pipe.

The house, located at 104 Wisteria Lane, was declared a state of exigency March 8 after a heavy rain system eroded a major portion of the yard behind the house, NRCS project engineer Norman Patterson said.

“The land behind the house first started seeing major erosion problems Aug. 18 after a heavy rain,” he said. “That was when the site was first turned into the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.”

Patterson said when a site is put in the program, the NRCS immediately begins looking for funding to fix the problem.

The site on Wisteria Lane was in the process of seeking funding before the March 8 rain that left the house six feet away from a 20-foot drop into the woods and in a state of exigency, Patterson said.

“Exigency means that human life or property is in grave danger and immediate action needs to take place,” he said. “The two storm events moved the edge of the drop off behind the house from 40 feet to 6 feet. We had to take action.”

A team from the NRCS came down April 7 and began a three-day project to fix the problem, costing approximately $30,000 from the NRCS, Patterson said.

NRCS construction inspector Mike Greene said one of the main causes from the erosion stemmed from poor drainage from the street in front of the house.

“The bottom of the pipe was knocked out,” he said. “We had to completely replace 120 feet of the pipe and place it properly into the creek that sits behind the house.”

Once the drain was placed, Greene said 1,500 yards of earth fill were placed where the erosion had taken place, giving the drop off a smooth, hill-like decline to where the new pipe drains.

“This is a permanent solution to the problem,” he said.

Greene said it was imperative that the site was fixed properly because of the damage the next heavy storm would have brought.

“The home would have been even closer to the edge, or possibly even eroded away,” he said.

Patterson said had there not been a state of exigency, a project like the one on Wisteria Lane would have normally taken three months to a year to complete, from getting funding to completing the construction.

The NRCS gave the site one final inspection on Wednesday before turning control back over to Adams County.

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