Frustrated Winston-Salem Homeowner Finally Gets Storm Drain Cleaned

7:34 PM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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Winston-Salem, NC -- A Winston-Salem woman who was frustrated with what she says was the city's unresponsiveness about her storm drain woes is glad to finally get some help.

Sheila Bennett reached out to WFMY News 2 this week after she says she tried for more than a year to get city crews to clean out her clogged storm drain.

Sheila and some of her neighbors along Mae-Len Drive were annexed as part of Winston-Salem about 7 years ago.

That meant the city would provide them with services like storm water drain clean up and they would pay for those services.

The bills have certainly been coming in but the neighbors say they couldn't get the city to work for them.

Along the street, drains are clogged up with rocks, grass and mud.

Sheila, for example, says she called and sent a follow-up letter for help as far back as last year and, according to her, no city employee ever responded.

"When you come to drive through here, there's just water everywhere. And when you'd come through here you wouldn't even see the drain. I mean, it was coming over our driveway," she said.

Another neighbor, Peggy Grogan says she too has tried to no avail to get city crew to install a drain in her front yard.

"I would like to have something down at the foot of the hill because water collects down there every time it rains," she said. "I can't see that we owe it but we have to pay it because they say we do."

Within hours of News 2's inquiry to the city, workers with a truck and backhoe, were in Sheila's yard digging and clearing the debris.

"I wouldn't have gotten done if I haven't called you all. As many years as went by, they wouldn't have done it for me," she said while looking at her unclogged drain.

Winston-Salem Assistant City Manager Greg Turner says the city tries to respond within a week of a complaint but he's aware sometimes residents' calls fall through the cracks.

"We're sorry that she had the problem and there were miscommunications but we're glad we're able to get it worked out for her," he said about Sheila's situation.

For residents in Winston-Salem with storm drain problems, turner advises calling city link or 311.

He says storm drains in residential areas are only cleaned when the city receives a complaint. He says residents should make sure to ask for a service number when they talk to city employees about their issues.

The number helps track the status of the job and keep a record of any developments from the time of a complaint.

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