Elizza Johnson has become weary of the standing water that lingers between the street and the curb at her home on Morgan Lane in Itta Bena.

“I take this shovel, and I clean this ditch out,” she said Wednesday, a shovel in tow — ready to demonstrate what she meant.  

She repeated that phrase several times while scooping up the mud and water along the curb.

“I can’t continue to do this,” Johnson said. “I’m 63. I don’t got business shoveling mud.”

But she’s had to do it to keep  water from pooling in front of her home.

Johnson is not the only resident of Morgan Lane with water collecting along the curb. Yet, because her home is at the end of the street, next to a large drainage pipe, a large amount of water ends up settling in front of her home.

“This water stays here if it rains or not. There’s a leak,” John Starks said pointing at the water in front of his home.

He uses a piece of plywood to plug a hole through which the water pushes onto the street.

The plywood was removed, and a measuring tape was used to check the hole’s depth — about 2½ feet.

Edna Beverly, the city clerk, said, “The water’s not flowing through like it’s supposed to do. The water that’s standing there is due to a broken pipe.”

Usually, water along Morgan Lane would run all the way down the street and flow into the drainage ditch. However, tall grass in the area of a drainage pipe prevents some water from entering the pipe.

Additionally, it’s believed that broken underground  water pipes beneath Morgan Lane have allowed water to seep up onto the street.

Mud has collected in puddles, where in some cases patches of grass have begun growing. These heaps of mud and patches of grass also hold water at its current location, preventing it from running down to the drainage pipe.

The puddles have a slight odor, which only gets worse the hotter the weather gets, Johnson said.

Throughout the water, tiny flickers could be seen; Johnson said they were caused by the movement of tadpoles. Mosquitoes, which breed near sources of still water, are also a problem, Johnson said.

Also in the middle of Morgan Lane is an open manhole.

Though it is covered by a large, orange traffic cone, Johnson said it’s still a danger for kids out playing on the streets as well as motorists.

Beverly said that there are “leaking pipes all over Itta Bena.” She said the pipes have been “underground for many, many years” and have “probably just given away now.”

The conditions on Morgan Lane are the worst, Johnson believes.

“How could you sum this up?” Johnson said. “This is unsanitary, the conditions.”

Beverly said Public Works Department workers were sent out Wednesday to clean the ditches and added that they might need to continue the work on Thursday.

• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

The first name of John Starks was omitted in the original version of this article.

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