ULM needs to improve storm drain system

Maggie Eubanks, News Editor

In Louisiana, when it rains, it pours. Here at ULM, when it rains, it floods. 

Roads near Stubbs, the CNSB and the HUB flood so badly that portions of the road must be cut off for traffic until the water subsides. 

But this flooding is entirely preventable. Whoever built the drainage system at ULM just didn’t know what they were doing. I don’t claim to be a construction expert, but I do know the water is supposed to drain, not just sit there.

The Virginia Department of Transportation agrees. According to the state’s manual on building storm drains, one of the primary goals is to provide “conditions that do not cause excessive backwater throughout the storm drain system.” This standard is pretty universal across the country, and ULM simply doesn’t meet it. 

Look at the street outside the HUB. From what I could gather during construction, they had to rebuild the outside of the storm drain and the sidewalk next to it. They should have thought to move the storm drains farther down the street to catch the water that flows during a storm. 

The HUB may have cost $11.6 million to build, but the storm drains in front of the building are barely able to catch enough water to fill a bucket. Instead, students and members of the community are forced to drive through flooded streets to get to class or work.

The problem is so bad at certain parts of the university that the grass beside the sidewalks washes away. The water sits there because it has nowhere to go, eroding away the ground under it. I’m surprised no one has broken a leg on campus. 

The issue with ULM’s drainage system lies beneath what we see on the surface. According to EPCOR, one of the largest sewer companies, storm drains connect to pipes that flow into nearby waterways like Bayou Desiard. When the system doesn’t function correctly, it can cause uneven roadways, sidewalks and sinkholes. 

Fixing the drainage issue won’t be simple. It will take a lot of planning and construction. But it is a project the university must take on to keep students’ safety as a top priority. 

Right now, the storm drains are too high up, so the system needs to be reconstructed where gravity does the heavy lifting. Water will naturally flow into the drains, allowing for streets and sidewalks to be clear during a storm. 

If the storm drains aren’t moved, then ULM and its students are at a greater risk for flood, water contamination and injury. The university needs to take this issue seriously and get it fixed. 

I’m tired of having to plan new routes to class after a 30-minute rainstorm. We live and work on the bayou. Water drainage should be the least of our problems.