UPDATE: Log removed from clogged drain in St. Albans - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Log removed from clogged drain in St. Albans

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City workers were able to remove a large log from a drain in St. Albans on Monday evening. The next step, according to the mayor, is to install a new drain.
That work will depend on the Public Works Department's current work list, but it should be within the next week according to the mayor.

It has been a stressful few days for St.Albans resident Jack Welch. After he had a stroke he moved to a home near the entrance to St. Albans City Park. He had hoped it would offer an easier way of life than what he had on the farm where he used to live.

"It was just like a river down through here. You couldn't see any street curbs," Welch said, describing what the road looked like in front of his home last week when a storm dumped a large amount of water on the area in a short amount of time.

He said Sunday night his road, his yard and his garage flooded again.

Instead of going into the storm drain nearby, muddy water was flowing out into the road and into his yard. St. Albans Public Works crews worked on the drain for several hours Monday. A log had become wedged in the drain. They had to tear out parts of the existing set up to reach the log to get it out of the way.

Mayor Dick Callaway said he received a call alerting him to the blockage Monday morning. Callaway has taken criticism from some city residents on social media and in television interviews following the recent high water issues. Callaway said some residents had also stopped by his office to share their concerns.

He said the city's current storm water system is sufficient to handle an average amount of rainfall. "If the system was any larger it may be able to accommodate more water but you never know how much of a surge you are going to get at a particular time," Callaway explained. 

He said it would cost millions of dollars to expand the system and that type of money is not currently available within the city's operating budget. He said because there is no need or deficiency there is no plan or proposal written up regarding a new system.

Callaway said any residents with concerns about drainage in their area should come to city hall during business hours and fill out an incident report. By doing so they will prompt a crew to come to their community to investigate and attempt to identify any potential problems. Those reports can also be filed over the phone.

Callaway said residents are also welcome to voice their concerns at a council meeting.

When it comes to problems with storm drains being blocked or clogged, Callaway said Public Works employees routinely monitor the forecast and go to known trouble spots ahead of time to look for problems. He said they are also routinely called in to work during severe weather.

Callaway said residents can also help by keeping yard waste and debris out of the storm drains in their community.

Crews will be back in the area near the entrance to City Park later this week to repair the drain.