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A drainage canal beside 1701 10th Ave. S.E. is partially obstructed with plants growing in dirt and gravel.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
A drainage canal beside 1701 10th Ave. S.E. is partially obstructed with plants growing in dirt and gravel.

Hiding in plain sight

Location: Drainage ditch between 11th Avenue and Royal Drive S.E.

Description: Ever wonder what the most littered items in Decatur are? Lannis Hatfield, who owns property adjacent to the drainage ditch, doesn't wonder; he knows. During heavy thunderstorms, the gravel, dirt and weeds that partially block the drainage pipes, trap debris flowing down from Sixth Avenue. Rainwater scatters plastic bags, aluminum cans and cigarette butts throughout the drain. At times, the combination of debris, gravel and weeds results in an overflow, flooding 10th Avenue. According to Hatfield, the water depth has reached 2 feet.

Along with constituting a nuisance, the stagnant water remaining in the ditch poses a health concern. The water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes, Hatfield said.

Owner: The city of Decatur owns the property.

Ordinance: Decatur's weed, junk and litter ordinance prohibits any weed growth over 12 inches high. The same ordinance requires owners to maintain their property free from junk and litter, unless properly contained.

Responsible Officials: The ditch is in Councilman David Bolding's District 2. Bolding said he wasn't aware of any complaints but would notify Public Works of the situation.

Responsibility for drainage ditch maintenance lies with Decatur's Public Works Department. Mark Petersohn, the Engineering and Public Works director, said his department would investigate the complaint and if warranted, issue a workorder.

In tackling drainage problems, the department responds to residents' complaints and also performs preventive maintenance, which includes clearing debris from the inlets and drains.

Let us know if you're tired of seeing a dilapidated building, litter, a drainage problem or an eyesore in your neighborhood. Contact Community Development's weed, junk and litter hot line at 341-4963. You can also contact the Daily newsroom at 340-2433 or

- Catherine Godbey

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