Think twice before tossing it out the window

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 12, 2009

Following Tuesday’s St. John Parish Council meeting, one parish official described Monday night’s stormy weather as a “40 year rain event,” meaning the parish had not seen flooding that bad in more than 40 years.

Meteorologists from the National Weather service said that in a span of about four hours Monday night and Tuesday morning, the parish experienced rainfall of more than seven inches. The rain overwhelmed several of the parish’s drainage canals and pump stations causing water to flood streets and homes in LaPlace, Reserve, Garyville and Mt. Airy.

By shear coincidence Tuesday night, the St. John Council was scheduled to discuss a series of drainage initiatives designed to remedy some of the long-standing flood problems plaguing the parish. The council approved three measures Tuesday that will correct drainage problems in parts of Reserve and LaPlace.

In addition, the parish is also working on a plan to clear out 28 major drainage canals that run through protected wetlands. The canals are said to be blocked with decades of fallen trees and broken limbs that could not be cleaned without proper permits.

Although the water from Tuesday has since receded, signs of the flooded areas still remain in the form of debris lines along streets where the water was at its highest. Much of that debris includes discarded cans, bottles and other trash thrown into canals by careless pedestrians and motorists.

As the parish moves forward with their initiatives to correct the flooding, so should we as members of the St. John Parish community. Think twice before deciding to toss garbage from car windows. Spend some time examining ditches along street sides in the parish. Clean out what can be cleaned out and alert the parish when ditches appear to be heavily clogged.

That empty cup tossed carelessly on the ground might do more than just harm the aesthetics of the parish; it might contribute to the destruction of a neighbor’s property by clogging drainage routes.

A little daily preventative maintenance can go a long way toward keeping St. John Parish Beautiful and flood free.