New drainage issue tools coming soon

Published 12:08 pm Monday, August 13, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Orange County announced a new resource, which will be available to the public. This is not intended to replace any existing system but as a supplement that can be used in an effort to track calls from the public in relation to drainage concerns.

The county is still encouraging citizens to call directly the public entity such as the Drainage District, Orange County, city or TxDOT, who they believe has maintenance responsibility for their specific drainage concern.

According to a press release from the county, with this method, we believe that this will be an aid to citizens who are unsure of which public entity that they need to report the problem to. The Drainage Hotline includes a system whereby the calls, and the information provided by the caller, will be logged in such a manner that the information is retrievable by the various municipalities and public entities in Orange County. This resource is geared toward reducing repetitive emails and or phone calls between municipalities and agencies when passing on information from the public.

Along with the Drainage Hotline number, a new app, A Slice of Orange, will also be another source to report issues.

Orange County Human Resources Lori Ardoin said citizens can download the app now, but it is not yet live.

“Ours will be very similar to the one Midland uses,” Ardoin said. “On theirs, there is a place to report road damage, file a complaint, and it will generate an email sent straight to Road and Bridge.”

It could also provide information such as driveway and culvert specifications as well as other frequently asked questions.

“Orange County and the Drainage District are working together in different ways to help our citizens,” Orange County Judge Dean Crooks said. “With cooperation, we will get further than by bumping heads. The non-communication days are over.”

Crooks added the drainage hotline number is one example of the cooperation.

“The hotline is not to take place of anything,” Crooks said. “It is an extra tool when citizens are unsure who is in charge of their specific drainage area.”

Orange County Engineer Clark Slacum said it is often more than one entity for drainage.

“It takes someone going out there and looking,” Slacum said. “When someone calls the number, they will get a recording stating it is the Orange County and Drainage District Hotline, and to leave one’s name, phone number and a description of the damage.”

Once a message has been left, a voice wav will be emailed to Slacum, his secretary, Drainage District General Manager Don Carona and his Assistant General Manager Jerry Hood.

Information will then be entered into an online form and the agency most likely responsible for the area.

The database will help cut down on repetitive calls between entities as well as creating a document for FEMA.

“It will help in a hurdle for dealing with FEMA,” Slacum said. “It will give us one more source of documentation to show we are taking care of our systems.”

Crook added the different agencies are still independent of each other.

“This will be another way to get information to other agencies,” Crooks said.

Crooks added, “Water does not know when it has crossed a city line.”

“It knows gravity,” Carona said. “I am excited about having another tool. It is a safety net for those who do not know who to call.”

Carona also stressed for those who know the Drainage District is responsible for the ditch, to continue calling the office directly.

“The hotline is for when one is unsure or multiple agencies are involved,” Carona said. “It is a safety net, so no one falls through the cracks.”

According to the press release, as with any new product, this online system will be refined as time goes by and improvements are developed… This database is a method of logging the calls in an online location, therefore eliminating the need for one public entity to ass on information to another public entity… Further, as drainage in our area certainly can affect all citizens and public entities, this might help all of us see the overall picture.