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Construction of Waveland's New Water and Sewer System Creating Havoc on Neighborhoods
By Keith Burton - GCN Photo Story    9/2/07
Photos: GCN

Hurricane Katrina did more than destroy homes in communities across the Coast. It also destroyed the underground stuff that makes a home possible, such as water and sewer lines. In Waveland, the damages were extreme and is among the main reasons that rebuilding has gone so slow.

The federal government has stepped up to plate to provide disaster funding to the tune of nearly $60 million dollars to rebuild Waveland's water and sewer lines, as well as natural gas lines that were torn up by Katrina. But the work, which began just about a month ago, is also creating havoc. Construction crews are tearing up what is left of the roads in many of the most devastated areas leaving, for months to come, dirt roads that when it rains, creates muddy, nearly impossible to travel, streets for residents that still live in the area, or are seeking to rebuild.

Also, since the previous, badly-damaged, system has been shut down, residents in the area have been provided with plastic tanks to collect dirty water, and sewage from their homes. These tanks are in the front yards on the surface and are somewhat translucent. You can see what is inside them. The tanks are placed in the front of the homes, connected to the sewer pipes from the homes. They also don't hold much and the contents have to be pumped out of the tanks sometimes several times a week. A household with kids will quickly fill the tanks. That means pump trucks are now as common as garbage trucks also some streets, but the work pumping the tanks does not move as swiftly. The tanks are translucent to allow residents and pump crews to quickly see the level.

On dry days, trucks run down the streets spraying water to help keep the dust down, but it is still dusty. The work is expected to take as long as another 18 to 20 months. The streets will also eventually be repaved, but for now, add another hardship for residents in Waveland.

Sewer storage tanks. Note vent.

The tank's contents can be seen from the road.

Pump truck emptying tank near trailer home.

New water and sewer turns streets to dirt.

Work leaves loose dirt on roadways.

New pipes standing by near yet-to-be-rebuilt home.

Water trucks spraying water on dirt neighborhood street.

There were once homes here, even into the distance.

Slab and bathroom toilet all that remains of this home.

Many Waveland neighborhoods still remain like this.

There are some new homes under construction, but only a few. The new higher building heights are reflected in this home's pillars that are under construction.

This street was lined with homes before Katrina. There are street, after street of similar scenes.

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