RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — John Evens’ backyard in Richmond’s Woodland Heights neighborhood resembles a river during episodes of heavy rain.
“Sometimes almost a foot of water comes through the yard,” Evens said.
Evens said it happened again just last week. He said the problem stems from city storm drains on his block that do not work well. He’s been told the drain’s pipes are too small, at only six to eight inches wide.
“We’ve been told it should be at least 15 inches,” said Evens.
Evens and his girlfriend have made numerous attempts over the past several years for help from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and other city officials. He even took to Twitter to share his frustration during the last storm in Richmond:
Evens said the Department of Public Utilities acknowledged in 2016 that the pipe was too small.
“They accepted the storm drain wasn’t big enough and it needed fixing, but we’re still waiting for any of that work to get done,” he told 8News.
8News reached out to the Department of Public Utilities, which said it has serviced the area along Evens’ street and identified it as needing an upgrade to the size of the drainage pipes.
DPU said the project to install a larger diameter pipe is scheduled to start later this year. Until that happens, DPU said it will continue to clean the storm drain inlets during and after rain events.
“That might help if for a little while, but then it gets clogged up again,” Evens said.
Evens has invested money into securing the crawl space underneath his home to prevent water damage.
“I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.
He said he has submitted more than one claim to the Department of Public Utilities to get compensation for the work he did to his home. Evens said one claim was dismissed and another has been under review by the City’s Attorney’s Office for more than a year.