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Okaloosa neighborhood looking for answers to stormwater drainage issues

Updated: Monday, July 7 2014, 06:35 PM CDT
Her Okaloosa County neighborhood was among the hardest-hit during April's flood,
Now a homeowner on Lloyd St., is asking why more hasn't been done to fix drainage issues....a multimillion dollar problem with no easy answers.

A phrase like 'inadequate stormwater infrastructure' is a little dry. So here's what it means in real life. This ditch is supposed to keep water away from Wanda Martin's home and those of her neighbors.
"This is not the first time the street has flooded, it won't be the last time it floods if we can't get somebody out here to put the proper drainage system in," said Wanda.

The ditches that are supposed to move water away from Lloyd St., are clogged with plants and dirt.
The overflow during storms has eroded Martin's property. "My fence fell over, my foundation in my garage is cracked after this last flood." "Am I going to wind up with a sinkhole under my garage?"

Okaloosa County's Director of Public Works agrees the drainage system is inadequate.
He says it was built before current standards were in place.

Moving more water out of the neighborhood will be a challenge.
It drains to a retention pond on private property, and they don't have permission to put more water there. "It's my property. I feel like it's being taken away from me, and being a taxpayer, I don't understand why it can't be fixed, why there's something that cannot be put into place," said Wanda.

The Public Works Director says they're committed to helping the people on Lloyd St., as the County struggles to fund tens of million of dollars in needed stormwater improvements.

Wanda Martin says for too long, her street has been pushed to the back of the line. "We're losing, the County's not losing. and it's my hard-earned dollars that's being washed away."

Wanda has been told someone is going to come and clean out this ditch this week. As to what else can or will be done, it's a question mark, as she watches the skies for the next heavy rain.
Okaloosa neighborhood looking for answers to stormwater drainage issues


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