Ditch diverts flood from Columbus neighborhood

Heavy equipment cut a hug ditch along a watershed's spillway late Thursday to stop flooding of homes on Teak Drive, a Columbus official said today.

Donna Newman, director of engineering for the Consolidated Government, said the trench was cut near the Charter Oak Watershed in the Fox Fire area about 8 p.m. Thursday to divert water to a nearby creek. No water was in the cul-de-sac off Schomburg Road this morning as residents and crews from the Muscogee County Prison removed sandbags that had been stacked Thursday to reduce flooding inside three of the 11 homes.

Residents were busy picking up silt, mud and debris that flooded into their yards and homes late Wednesday, after water overwhelmed the watershed’s spillway. City crews were still on the scene with pumps trying to reduce the water and clear a partially clogged drain that caused the flooding.

“There is more out here than meets the eye,” said Robert Petitt, a 4728 Teak Drive resident who has a 40 by 30- foot crater on the side of his home. Water from the spillway cascaded down the banks of the creek near his home, taking most of the front lawn and trees with it.

Petitt has a ruptured sewer line, snapped telephone and TV cables and plenty of mud and silt to cleanup. “I’m trying to get my house back together,” he said.

The flooding in the neighborhood has also caused sewage spills in the area, said Jim Patterson, vice president of environmental and communications at the Columbus Water Works.

He said the Water Works has about 30 manhole covers under water in the area. Water is flowing inside the sewer system and creating an overflow down stream. Crews can’t get to the sewers until the water is pumped down. “There is nothing we can do until the city gets the water down,” he said.

Patterson said residents in the area should be assured that the drinking water is safe. "There is no cross contamination."

Crews will be working throughout the weekend until the sewer problem is resolved.