Tuesday, July 10, 2012

630 City of Jacksonville Service Request

How do you get help from the City of Jacksonville COJ? Well, if you have a valid service request or complaint, you can either call the city at 904-630-CITY or you can file online at 630city.coj.net. On Monday, July 2, 2012, I filed an online service request with the COJ. I tried calling first, but got a recorded message that the wait times were longer than usual.

storm water drain in side yard
Storm water drain in my side yard
I had wondered about the hole in the ground that had standing water. The previous owner never mentioned that the two storm water drains in the street in front of my home were draining to this location in my side yard. The location of this drain was rather camouflaged by overgrowth that concealed its location. As I worked to clear the brush from my side yard, this drain began to stick out like a sore thumb.

Along came Tropical Storm Debby. Not only was I concerned about the winds bringing down the large water oaks in my yard, but I was worried about this drain! Jacksonville was hammered with more rains than we could reasonably handle.

storm water drain creates a pond
Storm water drain creates a pond
Our street had water on both sides that began to touch in the middle of the street. The two storm water drains were trying to drain that water. However, that water was moving from the flooded street to my side yard in the back! This street has been flooding for years; every time it rains, the street isn't draining. And, I am sure that none of the neighbors realized that the cause of the street flooding is a clogged storm water drain in my side yard!

I don't believe the neighbors across the street, in particular, realized that the storm water drain has an outlet in my side yard! Those neighbors began to drain their swimming pool into the already filled street water the night of the heavy rains. They were feeding their pool water directly into the one storm water drain. And, that was not the first time!

Hello! I was on the telephone with my next door neighbor, the night of the heavy TS Debby rains, as we watched the pond rising higher and higher. I captured this photo of the storm water drained pond the day after when the pond had begun to recede from its high point.

On July 2, 2010, I filed my online service request before 11am. You can probably guess how surprised I was to see three city workers walking through my backyard in the early morning of July 3rd! I never expected such quick response to an online service request to the City of Jacksonville. I walked, with the three workers, over to the storm water drain and I explained how high the pond had been the night of the heavy TS Debby rains. One of the leaning trees had a swing on it that was just about touching the ground. The pond water caused the tree to lean further into the yard.

The men did a bit of digging around the storm water drain to help to get the water to flow. They mentioned that perhaps prison workers might be used to trench out the drainage area so that it wouldn't back up into a pond effect. I told them about the neighbors draining their pool during TS Debby; I guess you're not supposed to do that when the storm drains are overworked? Also, another neighbor has been using the storm water drain in the street for pouring down grease and other cooking fluids and waste; like a garbage can. You can see grease on the water in the street storm water drain! Their kids have been washing their paint down that same storm water drain. Oh my! I believe those are code violations.

The city workers promised to come back with some fill dirt for the erosion at the neighbor's fence next to the storm drain. Since we were going into a holiday, I wasn't sure when those workers would return. On Friday, July 6th, the workers were back with a truck of fill dirt. That was a busy day as I had a tree company taking down 3 large water oaks in my backyard.

I've now got an additional online service request for mosquito control for all that standing water; and yet another online service request for a big tree that is on the fault line in the back drainage ditch that ultimately drains this pond into the creek that feeds finally to the river.

tree on fault line of drainage ditch
Large tree on fault line of drainage ditch
On July 6th, when the tree company was working on the other side of my yard, I asked them to look at this tree that is on the fault line of the drainage ditch. With the heavy TS Debby rains, the creek filled up into the drainage ditch so much that you could see it rising from my back door. The one side of this large tree has washed away soil exposing its roots. Because the base of the tree doesn't have much support into the ditch, I've been told that a good wind could well bring that tree down onto my house. I am asking the COJ to take a look at the situation with this tree and remove the tree for me; along with that leaning tree next to it. I'd also hope they can help me out in the pond area with two more trees leaning seriously into my yard.

SUGGESTION: It would seem to make some sense that the storm water drain be "moved" from my side yard. If it is piped directly back through the yard to the drainage ditch out back, the water will not form a pond there. Ultimately, the waters are supposedly draining West and then back East into the creek in the drainage ditch. Why not trench in a pipe and send the storm water directly into the creek rather than my side yard? Hey, I'm not an engineer, but I think that would be a better fix than bringing out prison workers to dig out the marshy area for a better water flow. Oh, I hope we get mosquito control to spray!!!

How do you get help from the City of Jacksonville COJ? Well, if you have a valid service request or complaint, you can either call the city at 904-630-CITY or you can file online at 630city.coj.net.

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