In light of the recent heavy rains, the creeks rising and the canals full, I feel compelled to write this letter.

I lived beside some neighbors for six years on the far east side of Miami Avenue. Of the six years, their house flooded two times and my home once. I am sure by now their home has flooded a total of eight or nine times. Before we moved, it had flooded seven times.

The city has been notified and supervisors have came out and looked at the drainage problem. They have been out on several occasions to see the damage caused to the home. Out of their own pocket, my former neighbors have spent to my knowledge $18,000 in concrete walls and for a storm drain system on their own property to try and help keep the damage down.

When we purchased our property, we were told there would be a 19-foot easement on it because the city of McAlester was going to put in a storm drain. My six years there came and went. The city never came and added a storm drain, which brings me to the story at hand.

I write with empathy for the family whose home was covered in sewage from the drains backing into their home. We experienced the same problem four years ago.

My son woke me up early on a Sunday morning, stating the bathroom had black, stinky stuff all in the floor and my bedroom floor was covered in the same stuff. As I jumped up from the bed, I placed my feet on the floor that was soaked in sewage and rain water. The sewer had backed up into my home. I had three bathrooms, and they were all flooded, along with my floors, carpets and furniture. It was a very nasty, stinking, disgusting ordeal. No one knows what it’s like to have human waste in their homes destroying things unless it happens directly to you. I don’t blame the family for not wanting to use the dishes, or food, that was contaminated. Would you?

Shortly afterwards, I wrote a letter to the editor addressing the reason this had happened. Trees, leaves, branches, trash and debris clogged the tiny drainage ditch behind my home. The manhole was clogged and so were the sewer pipes. This forced the sewer to back up into our home and to make our back yard a small lake.

I would assume that the recent damage caused by the backed-up sewer is from the city not taking heed of the canals, ditches and drainage system being clogged and blocked, so the water has to go somewhere. Yes, it’s an act of God. But, if the city would “act” on cleaning out the storm drains, canals and ditches, maybe some of these things could be prevented.

Someone in the city’s sewer department needs to be sure and drive around and look at the canals, ditches, storm drains, etc. Just on my drive around town to get groceries, I counted nine drains with trash, dirt, grass and small trees growing out of them. With water having to go up and over the debris to go somewhere, maybe if it backs up into a city official’s house, something will get done about it.

If the city, which is broke, doesn’t want to pay money it doesn’t have for damages, then maybe it should get its money’s worth of labor it is already paying for from city workers to go get the problems cleaned up. I think I suggested that in my last letter. Again, we will see if my letter gets anything cleaned up. Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts.

Elane Fields


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