South Richmond residents concerned about clogged storm drains

Clogged storm drains are easy to find around south Richmond, and that often leads to flooding.
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 3:52 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Clogged storm drains are easy to find around south Richmond, and that often leads to flooding.

Residents in Swansboro West say a big part of the blame should go to the city’s street cleaning program.

“We don’t get the same street cleaning as they do north of the river. And as a tax-paying citizen, it is disgusting the way our community is looking,” said Rev. Robin Mines, Swansboro West Civic Association President.

Those living on Richmond’s South Side say they hoped a spring storm drain cleaning would help alleviate flooding. It’s been unexpectedly delayed until the summer.

Meanwhile, leaves and trash are piling up around South Side neighborhoods. All that forgotten debris is also clogging up storm drains. Residents say it’s so bad they question if they’ve been forgotten.

“There is so much of it, and so the street cleaning that needs to be addressed. Why do we have to beg for that when north of the river, when I look at streets over there, they look nothing like this,” said Rev. Mines.

Tim Gardner, who lives near Byrd Park, sent a slew of photos to 12 On Your Side showing leaves turned to sludge. He also sent a lengthy email to the Department of Public Utilities about its leaf program.

It reads in part, “...the current leaf collection program is in my opinion largely ineffective and unpopular. I have yet to talk to any City resident that is satisfied with the current collection program.”

DPU says it does regular maintenance on storm drains all over the city, but Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch points out the department is very understaffed.

“As folks, you know, pay their property tax, city taxes, people want to see some services that are commensurate to the prices that they’re paying,” said Lynch.

Here’s how you can help. Richmond Residents should report clogged storm drains using the FREE RVA311 app or calling 311.

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