Drainpipe Dangers Preventable?

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback


During a flash flood any ditch can be a hazard.

Sunday night's drowning of a 14 year old Jonesboro boy in a culvert has many people-- including his parents-- asking if there is something the city could have done?

There is no clear answer to that question right now.

City officials met today to discuss the issue.

I met with Erick Woodruff the city public works director this afternoon to hear the latest.

And I asked him, "Is there anything the city could have done to prevent stuff like this in the future?"

Woodruff replied ,"At this point I'm not for certain the city could have done anything. Right now were still trying to put all the pieces together and with out all those pieces it's very hard to determine at this point. "

I climbed into the ditch today to take a closer look at the pipe.

The ditch was almost up to the level of my head. Imagine it being filled with fast moving floodwaters draining into that pipe.

The intake is quite large measuring about 37 inches across. With fast flowing waters it could easily suck down a grown person. So does the city generally put a grate on these open pipes? no they don't. Jim Scurlock whose company makes these pipes told me why.

"Anything that you would put that would inhibit the flow going into it it's possible to collect trash and stop it up. "

Woodruff says education is the key to prevent these kinds of accidents from happening.

"This was a flash flood event . And what I think the city is going to do in the future is educate the public in regards to flash flood events that happen through out the city of Jonesboro. "

There are plans in the works to build a retention pond in that part of jonesboro near vine street.

But until that is complete people need to be aware of how dangerous even a simple ditch can be.

The Jonesboro Mayors office issued this statement on Tuesday:

"The loss of life that unexpectedly occurred during this weekend's storm is extremely heartbreaking. As we evaluate the circumstances surrounding this accident, it is vital all the citizens lean from unfortunate situations such as this.

Education and communication are both imperative in our community to keep our citizens informed with the latest information. Due to the incident this weekend, providing that information relating to the dangers of flash flooding in our community is a necessity. The City of Jonesboro is currently reviewing how we can further assist in the educational process. Community outreach and involvement will help to better inform the citizens of Jonesboro the seriousness of weather related issues we have recently  experienced. Being a better informed community can and will prevent tragic accidents from occurring."

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