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'Simple neglect' may be to blame for Petersburg flooding

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Posted at 7:26 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 19:28:12-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- For decades a low-lying area along Bank Street in Petersburg has been prone to flooding, but in recent years, it has gotten worse, according to workers in the area.

A quick look at two creeks on either side of the businesses in the 1000 block of Bank Street Friday showed both littered with debris.

Chuck Moseley and Matt Carden, who work on Bank Street, said they were "frustrated" after Wednesday’s rain caused more water damage.

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Flooding along Bank Street in Petersburg on Aug. 15, 2020.

Forty-eight hours after the rain, Carden was still cleaning up the mess.

"I had 24 inches my building,” he said.

Less than a year ago, on August 15, 2020, Carden said the water rose 54 inches. He lost four electric motors, two air compressors and delivery truck to the rising water.

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Chuck Moseley

Directly across the street, Chuck Moseley said he is "worried about every rain even we have."

With more storms in the forecast Sunday, he is nervous.

“Two days gonna be Sunday and they’re calling for some more rain," Moseley said. "How much we get, we don’t know. Hopefully, we don’t get 2 inches."

While the men agree they are in a low-lying area that floods, they believe the city crews can help reduce the problems simply by cleaning up the creeks that drain off rainwater.

Those creeks had multiple areas blocked by debris and areas where the creek was extremely shallow.

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Flooding along Bank Street in Petersburg.

About two hours after CBS 6 Problem Solver Wayne Covil contacted city officials about the issue, crews showed up.

“We’re going in, we’re cleaning all the creeks, all the ravines," Petersburg Deputy City Manager for Community Affairs Darnetta Tyus said. "We’re removing debris."

One truck cleaned out drainpipes under the road while another crew used heavy equipment to clean out the creek.

“So I know it’s been like that for a while, but we totally recognize it and are having discussions of the long-term Capital Improvement Plan as we speak," Tyus said.

However, Covil noted that as soon as he left the area, so did the work crews.

Several people said crews have never tried cleaning out the creek farther up the street, which they believe is part of the problem.

City leaders said that with rain in the forecast Sunday, they will have extra staff on duty in of flooding.