Residents battle drainage nuisance

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A branch that was once a swimming hole for kids in the Caldwell Subdivision in Brundidge is now a nuisance to residents along Johnson and Darby streets.

Maxine Dubose said when she and her husband, Bertrum, moved into their home on Johnson Street 52 years ago, the branch was shoulder deep.

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“The children could swim in the branch and they came from all around town to swim,” Dubose said. “They had a world of fun. It was a playground. Now, the branch has filled in so that you can walk across it and water is washing into the yards up and down the street.”

At some point in time, the City of Brundidge is said to have dumped sand and dirt into the branch, Dubose said.

“The sand and dirt washed into the branch and it’s filled so that, when it rains, the water comes off the city streets and washes into our yards bringing trash and all kinds of filth into our yards,” Dubose said. “It’s killed three trees in my yard and dirt and filth are all over the yard. It’s embarrassing and humiliating. And, we can’t get the city to do anything. The city says that we are just in a low-lying area. We never had a problem until the branch filled in. Now, when it rains our yard is a river.”

Britt Thomas, city manager, said the city doesn’t have control over the branch. It’s a naturally occurring branch that, according to property lines, is on private property.

“When beavers built a dam at Highway 231, the city worked with the state to open it up so the water would flow,” Thomas said. “When it rains, the water runs down off Main Street because the area because it is in a low lying area.”

Robert Hudley, a 50-year Johnson Street resident, said he has been trying for 10 years to get the City of Brundidge to do something about the “river” that runs through his backyard.

“They said it’s not their problem,” Hudley said. “If the city dumped dirt in the branch, then, over time, they created a problem. I didn’t see the city dump dirt and sand in the creek but, if they did, somebody knows. Seems to me the city’s got money to do whatever else they want to do. They could fix this.”

Hudley said he has tried to prevent the water from washing into his garden with crossties but to no avail.

“I can’t do anything with it,” he said. “The water has washed a big hole in my neighbor’s yard, almost a gulley. Mine is going to be the same way before long. Before the branch filled up with sand and dirt, we didn’t have a problem. When it rains, the water is coming off the city streets and it’s about to wash us away.

Hudley said he’s not discounting the possibility that over time the runoff water from city streets could have filled the branch.

Johnny Ross, who lives on Darby Street, which dead-ends at the branch, said dirt was brought in when a pipe was covered at the street’s end but that’s the only dirt he knows about. However, the problem he sees is dirt and debris washing off city streets.

“When it rains, water comes off Main Street from over on Oak Street and Ramage Street and down Darby Street,” he said. “There’s so much water coming from up around the gym (PCHS) that it blows the concrete out. We didn’t have a problem in 1978 when we moved here. It has come about over time.”

Ross said rainwater off the streets has washed his yard so badly that he has trees that are in danger of falling.

“The branch needs to be dug out so the water could get away,” he said. “That would fix the problem. The city said they can’t do that because it’s wetlands. It’s only wetlands when it rains.”