Local News

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

Posted September 9, 2014 7:38 a.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2014 7:46 a.m. EDT

— 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.