Clogged drains cause problems in Newport News

Posted at 4:16 PM, Sep 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-11 06:36:53-04

Newport News, Va. - After flood waters created a mess on the roads across Hampton Roads earlier this week, many residents were quick to ask why the storm drains weren't doing their jobs.

Some of the drains didn't seem to be working at all while others were visibly clogged with debris.

Ruth Eason lives near Roanoke Avenue and 38th Street, where the flooding was so bad, it was pouring from the floorboards of vehicles as the waters receded.

Eason says as the water continued to rise, so did her frustrations with the city.

"I blame the city more than anything because the drains are never clean here. You can see the area, no curb, no gutter and they need to do something about it," she says.

NewsChannel 3 brought Newport News' Storm Water Administrator Frank James out to the area so he could see the problems for himself.

He says in the 30 years he's worked with Storm Water Management in the city, he didn't realize this street had issues with flooding.

And now that we showed him, he's going to take action by adding the drains on this street to the hot spot list.

James says that's a list of about 130 drains in the city, in areas are known for bad flooding, that are checked and cleaned three times a week and before and after the storm.

"If we didn't know this was here and that needed to be done, then we didn't know. But now that we've pointed this out I can say okay, we need to add this to our list," he says.

James says it will help with draining out the water but says this street is unusual. It has two huge ditches on ether side of street pouring water all into the same pipe. He also says street is on a slope so the water has nowhere to go. He says it's a complicated problem that doesn't have an easy solution.

James says he will get engineers out to 38th Street to see if anything can be done to help with the flooding. As for cleaning out these drains he says because we took action, they are already added to the list and should be cleaned out as early as Thursday.

If you are a Newport News resident and would like to report an issue with storm water drainage, dial 311 to reach their Contact Center.