Pasco retention pond flooding familiar sight for neighbors

Evan Axelbank reports

- At Jennifer Leatham's house on Ironbark Drive in New Port Richey, the sandbags never really go away.

"This time we are expecting the worst," she said.

Everytime it rains hard, the water from the retention pond across the street rises up, overtakes its borders, overcomes the street, and creeps to within a few feet of her home.

On Thursday, Pasco saw several rounds of harsh rain.

"As bad as Debbie was a couple of years back, and we completely lost the house that time," she said.

Regular construction projects on sinkholes, officials say, have plugged the pond's drainage.

Allan Wilcox, a neighbor from a nearby area, came by to help.

"If you have a truck, and you have a few extra minutes, go over there and grab some sandbags," he said. "Help your neighbor out. It may come that time like last year where I needed the help."

While water trucks were working to suck the extra water up, County Commissioner Jack Mariano said the county was hoping to install a temporary pipe within a few hours, to drain water to an unfilled pond a quarter mile away.

"Start filling that pond up, which can take hundreds and hundreds of thousands of gallons of water," Mariano said.H

He is trying to convince the rest of the commission to agree to dig a permanent line to connect the two ponds.

He says because the commission declined to increase the stormwater fee, they should tap into backup funds.

"I don't need reserves sitting in the bank when I can fix problems like this right here," he said. "We have got the solution, now we need to pull the trigger and get it done for them."

Leatham hopes she'll one day be able to put the sandbags away.

"I am so used to it, I just get ready. I have a rhythm down, this time it has been a little sooner. I am not waiting to pick up the carpet."
 

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