City to address Highland sewage geyser

Published 12:03 am Monday, August 6, 2012

NATCHEZ — Pecan Way resident Dennis Lindsey may have some relief coming during the city’s next fiscal year from a mucky drainage problem he has been dealing with for years.

Whenever there is a heavy rain, Lindsey said, the sewer line near his house overloads and a manhole cover pops its lid, spraying sewage water onto the bridge on Highland Boulevard.

“It’s like a geyser when it blows the top off the manhole cover,” Lindsey said. “With the heavy rain this past weekend, sewage water was spraying up 30 or 40 feet from the bridge.”

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Toilet paper and feminine products also wash up in the bayou behind his house. Aside from that, Lindsey said, the drainage issue also comes with safety concerns during heavy rains.

“It’s like a lake when you hit the bridge on Highland,” Lindsey said. “Somebody is going to hydroplane or something and get killed.”

Lindsey said he and his neighbor usually mow the grass back behind their houses, but Lindsey said he cannot cut the grass without sinking into the muck.

“Every time it comes a heavy rain, it’s the same thing,” Lindsey said. “I’ve been dealing with this problem as far back as I can remember,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey has owned property on Pecan Way for approximately 30 years. He said he returned to Natchez in January from working in Maryland, hoping to find the drainage problem he told the city about three or four years ago fixed.

Lindsey said he has become frustrated because the city has not yet fixed the problem.

But City Engineer David Gardner said the city is aware of the problem and has been working on it for the past couple of years.

Gardner said the engineering department is working on engineering plans and specifications to put a sewer line going from Highland Boulevard to the Waste Water Treatment Plant and install a lift station at Highland Boulevard.

The project, which Gardner said will cost $500,000-$700,000, will be included in the engineering department’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Lindsey said the drainage lines in his neighborhood also need work.

“All the drainage shouldn’t be going into the sewer lines, but somehow it is,” he said.

That problem, Gardner said, is caused by people illegally hooking up their gutters to sewer lines instead of drainage lines.

“All that amounts up,” Gardner said. “When it rains, it causes these ways for water to get into the sewer system…it’s illegal, but it’s not easily seen. Some of those hookups might have been done before the codes were changed to make it illegal.”

“Regardless of it being illegal, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a problem.”

Gardner said he was hoping the city could increase the size of the sewer line without having to replace the line, but he said an engineering study showed that was not feasible.

“We’ve been working the last two years on what is the best solution, and now that we’ve gone through all this extensive engineering on what the best solution, now we can budget it and get it done (in the) next fiscal year,” Gardner said.