OKC residents ask city for help dealing with drainage ditch problem

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - A drainage ditch problem is causing a headache for some longtime Oklahoma City residents.

“The water comes flashing down, comes running in our yard, see where it washes and cuts it out?” said 50-year resident Jerry Stepp.

Stepp says he's been dealing with his drainage ditch problem for close to 20 years.

This year's heavy rains made the problem much worse.

“It’s hard to keep the water from coming, you know, it comes down the hill and floods us,” said Stepp.

He lives just off of S. Fields St. in Oklahoma City.

The ditches have grown in so much that some are almost even with the road.

Stepp says because the water can't run through the ditches, it forces their yards to flood and fences to cave in.

“Makes holes, hard to mow, you know, you can’t mow too easy,” he said.

He tried homemade solutions, like putting rocks in the way, but nothing seems to work.

News 4 reached out to Oklahoma City officials who tell us the issue is actually private, and say it's a property owner's responsibility to accommodate the historic drainage to their property.

They also tell us there are several private residential structures, along with private driveways, near Fields St., that were constructed in the drainage path of a 90-acre watershed basin and changed the water flow.

This path historically diverted from the public street and, therefore, the ditch along Fields St. was never designed to accommodate this watershed.

City officials say even though this is a private issue, they have placed it as a public project on a list to be prioritized, along with other projects, as funding becomes available.

In addition, city officials say the ditch will be maintained to protect the public street and to provide drainage as designed.

Stepp is just hoping he can find a solution before another big rain.

“I’m hoping that they come out here pretty quick before we get the spring rains and it floods us again. I’m hoping that they at least scrape the ditches out, clean them out,” he said.

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