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Who should fix flooding blocking Raleigh clinic? City, owner disagree

Posted September 9, 2014
Updated September 10, 2014

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— As flood waters blocked the entrance to a Raleigh dialysis clinic for a second day, city officials and the private property owner disagreed Tuesday over who should have to fix the problem.

The flooding prevented patients from getting treatment at Southwest Wake Dialysis on Durham Drive and forced workers to walk back and forth in the pouring rain, in some cases carrying frail and elderly patients around the flooded road.

A clinic manager said about 30 patients were scheduled to receive treatment Tuesday.

A City of Raleigh engineer said Monday’s flooding could be because of a drainage problem with a clogged 72-inch pipe that is on private property nearby. The property owner and city have been debating who should fix the issue for more than a year.

The owner, Michael Weeks, says city officials should be responsible for unclogging the pipe because of work they did that pushed dirt over the end of the pipe, preventing it from draining. Since that time, two sink holes have appeared on either side of Tryon and Durham roads.

"They won't accept the responsibility for coming in on our property. They gave no notice they were going to do any work," Weeks said. "We would have shown them the pipe was there. They push the dirt down the hill, over the pipe, and then say it is my responsibility to clean that up."

The city says the blocked pipe is under Weeks' property, so he should be responsible.

"This is the third flooding event. Why hasn't this been fixed?" said Chris McGee, with the City of Raleigh's public works department. "We notified the property owners through a letter, saying, 'You may have a problem here.' We don't have any real authority to go in and make those repairs unless it is causing damage to Raleigh city streets or unless it constitutes a nuisance."

City officials say they are drafting a letter that will require Weeks to fix the problem. If he does not, the city will do the job and charge him for the work.

"We'll fight it in court," Weeks said.

Despite the ongoing disagreement, the city began pumping water off the road Tuesday. The road reopened Wednesday morning.

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  • David McCabe Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    I'd say the drainage problem is well boyond a "nuisance" at this point. I work in the building next to the flooded road and they have to carry the dialysis patients through the woods and over a hill every time it floods. Not to mention I lost a vehicle in May when the parking lot filled with water in about 25 minutes. Disrupting vital medical services and loss of property? Sounds like a real big nuisance to me.

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  • glarg Sep 10, 2014

    "The owner, Michael Weeks, says city officials should be responsible for unclogging the pipe because of work they did that pushed dirt over the end of the pipe, preventing it from draining. Since that time, two sink holes have appeared on either side of Tryon and Durham roads."This sounds like a very simple point of law. This situation was caused by the actions of the city that were negligent.

  • Andy Hairston Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    The pipe is there for draining water off the street, right? Then it's not a private pipe - and therefore is the city's responsibility. And they ALWAYS have authorization to do repairs on public items on private property - that's what easements are about.

  • Jim Frei Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Raleigh collects over $4 million a year in stormwater fees from all property owners. The City needs to unclog and repair this pipe.

  • gotnoid Sep 10, 2014

    Why not ask each side to pay 50% and get the problem fixed so the patients can get treatment? Then the parties could go to some type of binding arbitration or let the courts settle the issue.
    Why do these disputes have to be so complicated?

  • New Holland Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    appears as those the right hand it's talking to the left hand. Not blaming anyone, but come on, get a backhoe out there and spend 2-3hrs and fix it.

  • Bernadette Dan Unger Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Guess my first question is who installed the pipe and for what reason? That answer is clear, just don't see why the city or county is now hedging on maintaining it.

  • archmaker Sep 10, 2014

    most people in Raleigh could stand up straight inside a pipe that big. it should be pretty obvious where all the dirt came from that is blocking it.
    Apparently, the city had the authority to come on the property the first time when they were doing work, but now say they have no authority to come on the property and fix it? Sounds like the owner is giving them permission to fix it to me.
    Sinkholes near the road seem to be a "nuisance" to me. AND this is right down the road from the major sink hole at Hammond and Rush that closed a major thoroughfare - are they related incidents???

  • Justin Case Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Maybe Durham Water & Sewer and Nana's restaurant should consult on this?

  • BMW guy Sep 10, 2014

    It's like everything else, no one does what they are suppose to and only patches things thinking they won't have to deal with it again, it's someone else's problems.

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