NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A homeowner in rural Norman says she’s been fighting a 4-year-long battle with the city because of a concrete drainage box that she claims was installed eight inches too high. She says her property has flooded for hundreds of feet and it’s causing issue after issue.
The water will not drain starting from the drainage box. It goes all the way back to her property which she says is around 900 feet of swamp.
“Fix it. That’s all I want. I don’t want their money; I just want them to fix it. The box is there, dig it up, drop it where it needs to be. And we’re good,” said Robin Strader, Norman homeowner.
Strader said the problem started back in 2019. That’s when she reached out to the city about the problem, and they came to install 24-inch pipe beside it.
But Strader claims the city’s fix only made things worse.
“So, you’ve just downgraded me from approximately 33,000 gallons of water per minute at maximum flow to 3,000 gallons per minute. I still have this problem of it backing up into my property,” said Strader.
We reached out to the city. A spokesperson told KFOR, “The City of Norman was notified by Ms. Strader of drainage problems she believed to be the result of a City project. Staff worked diligently to determine whether the road project was the cause of her drainage issues and determined it was not.”
But Strader questions, then why try and fix the issue in the first place?
“Their solution was to install a 24-inch pipe… Their response has been that I’ve always had this draining problem,” said Strader.
Councilman Michael Nash has been fighting this fight with Strader for years and agrees the city is not taking responsibility.
“They admitted as much when they spent taxpayer dollars to implement a fix that failed when that fix failed. Now they’re trying to pass it off like there was never a problem at all. Somebody needs to lose their job for either spending taxpayer money on a problem that didn’t exist or failing to address a problem that does,” said Michael Nash, Norman city council member elect for Ward 5.
Strader said it has flooded about an acre and a half of her 5-acre yard and it has made its way to her property at times. Plus, it’s caused trouble for her livestock.
“I’ve got livestock back there that are walking in it and it’s going halfway up their legs. I deal with hoof abscesses. I deal with bacterial infections in their skin from the stagnant water splashing on them. Now, since the drought, it’s not as bad. It’s maybe an inch or two, but it’s slowly progressively getting worse with each rain,” said Strader.
The City also claims, “Additionally, by Ms. Strader’s own admission, this particular property had drainage issues predating any City road project in the area.”