Locals face drainage and sewage issues left by Hurricane Sally

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 10:29 PM CDT
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Lynn Haven Resident James Hare said flooding last week in his neighborhood reached up to his knees. “It was so high that people were like actually kayaking,” he said.

Remnants from the high water can be seen on his fence, but Hare said it’s a common occurrence. “You know we got all this money that was supposed to be for improving the area. Where is the money going?”

Lynn Haven’s Public Works Director Bobby Baker said there simply wasn’t anywhere for the water to go. “We’ve identified a lot of the big areas. We’re trying to find funding for it, and we’ll do it; it’ll be a slow process but we’re gonna keep working on it.”

He said Hurricane Sally flooded 46 roads in the city.

“The sewage spilled over out of the manholes and out of the station itself and flowed into the bay, also backed up into some of the resident’s home,” said Vice President of Northwest Florida Minority Business Chamber of Commerce Tony Bostick while outside the lift station at 7th Court and Bonita Avenue in Panama City.

Outside of the station in Glenwood the ground is crusted with dried sewage; one thing you don’t see is the smell. But locals are working with city officials to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“We’ve been neglected in Glenwood and other parts of the city, but the new team is in town, and I think they’re doing a really good job of trying to get on top of resolving old issues, trying to mitigate current issues and trying to prevent future issues,” said Bostick.

“We’ve got to get after reinvesting in our infrastructure. We’re an 111 year old city, and we have decaying infrastructure beneath us, and we’ve got to address that if we’re going to poise the city to be ready for the future,” said Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen.

Some residents were offered hotel rooms by Panama City while the area was sanitized. The city has applied for almost $120 million in grants to resolve its drainage and sewer issues.

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