City Says VCU Students, Restaurant Owners Could Be to Blame for - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

City Says VCU Students, Restaurant Owners Could Be to Blame for Flooding

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On Thursday evening, Interstate 95 looked like a swimming pool in Richmond; drivers suddenly found themselves trying to navigate through about 3 feet of water. On Thursday evening, Interstate 95 looked like a swimming pool in Richmond; drivers suddenly found themselves trying to navigate through about 3 feet of water.
The City of Richmond says VCU students putting trash in drains could have contributed to Thursday's flooding in the area. The City of Richmond says VCU students putting trash in drains could have contributed to Thursday's flooding in the area.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -

On Thursday evening, Interstate 95 looked like a swimming pool in Richmond; drivers suddenly found themselves trying to navigate through about 3 feet of water.

Crews told ABC 8News they cleared out the area before the storm, knowing it was prone to high water. But somehow, a plastic box lid got in and clogged a drain.

I-95 wasn’t the only area that saw flooding. Some business owners near Virginia Commonwealth University spent the morning mopping up water and debris from the storm. The intersection of North Harrison and West Grace streets was completely underwater.

The owner of the Panda Garden says he had several inches of water in his restaurant. City officials say VCU students and restaurant owners could be to blame for the flooding in the area that occurred on Thursday.

“It just all over started rising and you couldn’t see the sidewalk anymore,” said Lexi Fletcher, who witnessed the intersection that looked more like a sea than a street. “It was just like water and hail droplets flowing down the street.”

Fletcher and others who work in the area say the intersection of North Harrison and West Grace streets is prone to flooding.

“This problem has been here for years,” said James Petrick with the Village Cafe.

On Thursday, the water in the intersection swirled and gurgled, but wouldn’t drain. ABC 8News Anchor/Investigative Reporter Kerri O’Brien asked the city why, and was told one possible reason is VCU students throwing their trash in the drains.

“It makes sense,” Fletcher said. “I know a lot of people have a disregard for littering and not littering and where to put their trash.”

O’Brien was also told another possible reason for the clogged drains is restaurant owners dumping grease on them, an accusation that has restaurant workers in the area boiling.

“We actually pay a service to take the grease away, and we actually pay people to pick up the trash around here,” Petrick said.

A City of Richmond spokesperson also says with the construction in the area, they will be checking to see if there is any lumber, wood chips or gravel clogging the manholes. The city also says engineers will be looking to see if there is anything more they can do to improve drainage.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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