Drainage problem floods property in Bean Station


BEAN STATION, Tenn. (WATE) — For about 20 years, a neighborhood in Bean Station has been dealing with floodwater draining from Highway 11 West and directed toward their homes. One place was hit repeatedly hard.

The yard belongs to a great-grandmother who started a petition to have repairs made, she’s even written to the governor’s office and received a response.

While Ardis Roberts, a retired hair stylist, is mild-mannered, she’s a fighter.

About every spring when conditions are right, the rain will fall for days in East Tennessee. Once the ground is saturated and the water has nowhere to go, as it continues to rain many low-lying areas begin to flood.

“It comes from the field up in there. Come through this drain right here down here on me. It all goes back here in my backyard.”

Ardis Roberts

The most recent heavy rainfall that fell in Bean Station was late last month. Until last month, Roberts’ propane gas tank was set up on several concrete blocks, but water surrounded it after 3 days of steady rain.

“Yes, it had. I had to get the fire department out here because it floats on the water. They come out here, unhooked it, and brought it up to here. Now, I have to get somebody to get it back.”


Sometimes the water will get as high as five to six feet deep. Once the city tried to create a big drain field in Roberts’ back yard.

“They dug 200 feet up through there and put big rock in there to try to take care of the water. See these holes that are coming in here? That’s from where they dug and put them rock in there. I’m getting tired of it. I am. I work on it every year trying to get something done.”


In February of last year Roberts sent a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee asking for state assistance. The Department of Transportation commissioner responded saying while water storm drainage issues within a city is that municipality’s responsibility, the commissioner said the state is working with the local Utility District to modify and redirect the runoff directed toward her property.

Tammy Wilson is the director of the Bean Station Utility District. She says the plan by the district to correct the drainage problem for Mrs. Roberts and others is underway.

“Typically it’s a six-month process. DOT’s project is to repair that drainage ditch, in the process of that we have to move a 12-inch water line. So we are in the process of getting the plans to move that water line so they can do some repairs.”

Tammy Wilson BSUD Manager

Once the utility district’s engineers complete their plans, TDOT will have to relocate a waterline off Highway 11 West. The utility district estimates the start of the project is at least six months away. Roberts says although there will likely be more heavy rain in the months ahead, she’s pleased that some progress is being made.

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