FOX 8 Defenders: Illegal dumping issues continue in New Orleans East, prompting drainage concerns

Updated: May. 17, 2019 at 8:50 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - When drainage issues were getting too much for Marty Fears to handle, he took matters into his own hands. He dug out and built a makeshift drainage ditch around his property.

“I made it a little bigger and deeper and kind of rerouted it from my building,” said Fears.

The only problem, for the past year it hasn't really helped.

Fears' business was one of several that flooded Mother’s Day weekend, and nearly a week after the fact, the business is still drying out. But as for what's causing all the water to run into his business, he says the big problem is illegal dumping. Fears says the properties surrounding him are growing taller, leaving the water nowhere to go but into his business.

“It’s not land they own, and they're doing major dumping, instead of going to the landfill they're dumping this stuff, covering it with dirt excavators,” said Fears.

In this overhead view, Fears says all the green space is supposed to be swampland, or prime drainage opportunities. However, he says now there are plots of land surrounding him that continue to see dumping that water has nowhere to go. Instead, the dumping builds up the land around him with trash, silt, sand, mud and dirt.

“I’m just trying to get something fixed that shouldn’t have had to be fixed in the first place,” said Fears.

In a statement, councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen says they are aware of the longtime dumping in the Almonaster corridor. She says they're working to remove the trash that's caused drainage issues in the area, and working to prevent future dumping.

Fears says as much as he tries to mitigate the issue in his part of Old Gentilly Road, he says he simply can't do it alone.

“I’ve worked on some of the ditches and cleaned some of them out but there's still something that needs to be done,” said Fears.

Fears says the Mother’s Day flooding caused an estimated $12,000 of damage to his business.

He says he’s also sought help from the Army Corps of Engineers, LDEQ, and the Sewerage and Water Board.

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