Sanitation workers clean out storm drains near San Marco

Crews rid South Riverside area of clogged drainage ditches

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One South Riverside community near San Marco now has better drainage and less of a mosquito breeding ground to worry about after sanitation workers recently made improvements. 

The workers spent several days along Drew Street, Sheridan Street and Sheridan Lane to rid the area of clogged drainage ditches, which have plagued the area for years and led to flooding. 

The drains have been repeatedly used as a dumping grounds for trash, tires and furniture. No one has been caught and authorities believe people who don’t live in the area are responsible. 

RELATED: City removes trash, tires clogging storm drains near San Marco

The new drainage improvements mean a lot to South Riverside residents because, for one, the drains have been an eyesore for a long time and, two, the clogged drains have caused health concerns associated with mosquitoes and vermin.

“There's a lot of water that be down there, but the improvement will help," South Riverside resident Karen Bacon said. "It would look better with all the grass and trees cut.”

Sanitation worker Chris Baggett said Styrofoam containers, paper cups and bottles were among the items in the drains. 

Crews will now drudge the drains with heavy machinery, making the drains deeper, wider and much clearer. That work will also unclog drains that run under the streets. 

“This clogged drain right here is an inlet box for all the water from this side of the street going to this box to drain across the street to the main ditch. This box was completely full with dirt," Baggett said.

Since it was full, water had nowhere to drain. When water doesn’t drain, it stands and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"(Combined with garbage and thrown out food), it rots and leads to rodents and insects," Baggett said. "I couldn't even imagine what kind of bacteria has been growing in that black water that's been in the ditch for 15 years."

Neither could Bacon, who was surprised to see the improvements finally been made.

"It's looking really good," Bacon said. "I didn't think they would ever come."

According to Baggett, the city is aware that this is a problem in many areas throughout Jacksonville. He said when the city gets a complaint, workers go out and handle it, but when it requires in-depth work, the work is scheduled in a planner. 

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