Wichita Falls residents are complaining about a drainage ditch. They say it's a health hazard, and that it smells like raw sewage outside their homes. They say they've been trying for about three months to find out who can help them clean up the problem.
Newschannel 6 found out both the city of Wichita Falls and the Texas Department of Transportation are responsible for the clean up, but so far that hasn't happened. Wichita Falls resident Jim Short tells Newschannel 6 he has been in contact with both parties to try and get some action. Short says, "It's probably been six years or more since it has been cleaned; It smells, it's a health hazard, draws mosquitoes. I had to get a mattress out of there last week".
Short lives on the North side of Southwest Parkway. For months, he's been dealing with having a drainage ditch just outside his backyard that has dead grass, empty water gallons, coke cans, candy wrappers, and even cups and fry boxes from fast food restaurants. He says the appraised value of his house just went up more than $5,000 this past week. Short feels as a resident who votes, pays his taxes, and obeys the law something should be done.
Short and his neighbors want it cleaned up, but they have had a hard time getting answers. He says, "I feel like I'm getting the run around from the city and from Tex DOT because the city says it's Tex DOT's responsibility and Tex DOT says it's the city's responsibility". Newschannel 6 found out today both the city and Tex DOT are responsible for cleaning it up.
Residents are ready to see a change as soon as possible. Wichita Falls Resident Brianda Chavez says, "It's very disappointing when you have to go into your backyard, and you see a bunch of trash and wild vegetation growing. Whenever we get rainstorm, there's a smell back there. And it's gross". Chavez says she likes to be outside with her kids, but she says the smell is so bad sometimes it's too much to be outdoors.
Residents there should see a difference soon. Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Adele Lewis tells Newschannel 6 a work crew will weed-eat the ditch and clean out the trash from it on Tuesday. Lewis also says the city has promised to take water samples and test them to see whether the water in the ditch is leaking from sewage. We'll follow up, and let you know what happens.