Drainage pipes divide neighbors

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 2, 2002

[05/01/02]A Vicksburg woman says water being piped onto her property from a neighbor’s yard is damaging her home, but city officials say there is nothing they can do to stop it.

Annie Qualls, 726 Morgan Lane, said that for nearly three years the owner of the property behind her home has had three pipes stuck under the fence between the yards. They direct water onto her property, she said. Qualls said she has tried everything to put a stop to it, even talking to an attorney, but says there’s nothing she can do.

“It’s made holes in my back yard and it comes out underneath my house,” she said. “Now, all of my doors on the inside of the house drag the floor where the house has shifted.”

Qualls isn’t sure who owns the property behind her house and has only spoken to the man once before through the wooden fence that separates their back yards. She said she asked the man to remove the pipes that stick out a foot over her property, but that he did nothing.

After two years of frustration, she spoke to the city’s inspection department last summer. Building inspector T.J. Stubbs came out and looked at the problem and said he talked with the nephew of the owner about removing the pipes.

The owner of the property, Melvin Griffith, 717 Beresford St., said he moved the pipes so that the water now drains into a ravine behind Qualls’ property, but said he welcomes a visit from the city’s inspectors.

“They put all kinds of trash out there,” Griffith said. “There’s nothing but rats and roaches coming up from out of there.”

Qualls said she did talk to an attorney last week about the pipes, but that he told her it would cost her more to take the neighbor to court than she would get out of it.

Stubbs said he can’t do anything to make the property owner remove the pipes. “There’s really no law that says you can’t run water where you want to,” Stubbs said. “Unless you get into a civil matter.”

It is illegal to dump trash even on private property and Griffith has complained to the city about old refrigerators left on Qualls’ property. The city’s inspection department did require that Qualls dispose of the appliances.