Officials trying to solve flash flooding in Kings

Published 6:37 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2018

City officials are hoping a proposed drainage study of the Kings area will provide the key to moving runoff from the east side of North Washington Street west to the Yazoo River without flooding Kings.

The city so far this year has spent $281,711 to clear the box culverts that carry the runoff from the east side through Kings, only to have the culverts get clogged with silt and debris from runoff after the next rain and send water and mud across North Washington Street.

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Part of the problem, officials said, is a series of railroad trestles on the west side that catch logs and debris going down with the water in the bridge pilings, eventually blocking water from going through.

“The study will look at what it’s going to take to open the drains from North Washington Street through the railroad tracks, out and to the west to get everything draining like it should,” public works director Garnet Van Norman said.

He said the engineering firm hired to do the study will have to develop a scope of work “and then we’ll go from there. Look not at one or two places; look at every thing, and it’s a lot. That’s nothing that’s going to happen quick. It’s going to be a big thing when it happens. The city’s got to be involved, the railroad’s got to be involved; there’s a lot of players in the game.”

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said the Kings area has two problems — flash flooding, caused when the drains can’t handle the runoff and floods North Washington and the streets in the Kings community on the west side, and backwater flooding that occurs when the Mississippi River floods, pushing the nearby Yazoo River into Kings.

“It’s a double whammy,” he said. “We can’t do anything about backwater flooding, but we can do something about the flash flooding. We just have to find out what.”

He stopped at one site on a tour of North Washington Street Tuesday.

“This happens every time (it rains),” he said as he looked at a 24-inch box culvert across from Waltersville Street. Earlier in March, city water department crews had to remove several feet of mud, which clogged the culvert, causing water to run across North Washington.

The culvert, Mayfield said, is one of seven box culverts along North Washington Street, and all become clogged with silt and debris each time a rain of about 1 inch or better hits the area. In April 2017, a 10-inch rain clogged all seven, sending water, mud and debris across North Washington.

At other locations, the flooding has been so bad the water has begun to eat into the paving and the edge of the roadbed on the east side of the street.

Mayfield then went to another location along North Washington.

“We dug that down to 8 feet,” he said looking at a drainage ditch that had since silted up. “Now look at it. It’s about a foot from the top.

“Everything we’ve been doing is containment; trying to contain the water when it rains. We need to fix it.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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