Lifelong Como resident Michelle Allen, 55, has waited decades for water and sewer main improvements in the Como neighborhood.
“Every time it rains, it fails and the sewer overflows,” Allen said. “We need it.”
Allen grew up on Wilmington Drive with her mother — now she lives on Blackmore Street. Her mother has problems with a drain opening down the street on Wilmington Avenue. After heavy rainfall, the sewer clogs up and rancid water floods the street.
Allen, her mother and interested residents attended a community construction meeting April 7 at the Como Community Center, where the Fort Worth Water Department went over a water and sewer main project plan and heard comments from Como residents.
The project will replace current sewer mains and water mains in the residential and commercial area in Como, which emcompasses the Como Community Center and the Leadership Academy at Como Elementary.
The city says it is making improvements to the system based on the state of the existing mains, the water main break history, leak history, closed circuit TV inspection, age of the line, line material and whether there are lead service or cast iron water service lines.
Gregory Sanders, 62, said he didn’t have a clue about the water and sewer main improvements.
Sanders, who also grew up on Wilmington Drive two houses down from Allen, has a storm drain right in front of his home. He doesn’t believe the construction will improve the flooding. During heavy rainfall, water seeps into his home.
“When it starts backing up, it’ll come up my driveway. Once it’s up the driveway, it goes all up here and into my house,” Sanders said. “Improvements ain’t going to fix that.”
Sanders has lived in his Wilmington Drive home since 1967, or 55 of his 62 years. He said mud gathers in his front yard and along the street when there is heavy rainfall.
“The city don’t care man,” Sanders said. “‘Cause if they did, they’d come fix that.”
Wilmington Drive and Manhattan Street are in the projected improvement area, but storm drain improvements are not a part of the sewer and water main construction plans, Mary Gugliuzza of Fort Worth Water and Wastewater said.
City Council member Michael Crain’s district includes Como. He originally declined to comment for this story, but offered the following comment after its publication.
“We should be looking at all of our neighborhoods that are underserved and underrepresented and making sure that their infrastructure meets the needs needs of the residents,” Crain said. “And I’m happy that T/PW (Transportation and Public Works) has looked at this project and is moving forward with it.”
Crain said he hopes the improvements will relieve some of Sanders’ and Allen’s issues.
According to the city’s press release, improvements to the water infrastructure in the Como neighborhood will total $549,856 and are set to begin May 2022.
What residents should know about the construction phase:
- Construction hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and, if requested by the contractor, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. No Sunday construction.
Residents will receive two door hangers.
- The first one says “Construction Starts in 7 days.”
- The second door hanger says “Construction Starts Tomorrow.”
- Sewer on Carver Drive and Faron Street will be replaced first;
Sewer in the four alleys (not necessarily in this order):
- Alley between Carver Drive and Helmick Avenue;
- Alley between Carver Drive and Fernander Drive;
- Alley between Donnelly Avenue and Geddes Avenue;
- Alley between Humbert Avenue and Farnsworth Avenue.
The contractor will work around the schedule for The Leadership Academy at Como Elementary and the Como Montessori.
Contractor will take residents’ trash and recycling carts to the opposite side of the street so the trash collection vehicle can pick it up, if the resident’s side of the street is closed.
- No watering by irrigation systems or sprinklers between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Watering by hand-held hose, drip irrigation or soaker hose is allowed at any time, including during construction.
A temporary water line ensures that residents are not without water during construction. The bill for residents’ water usage while on the temporary line is based on an average of the previous months’ usage.
Water will be turned off for 15-30 minutes when service is transferred from the existing line to a temporary water line.
The projected end date is late fall 2023.
How do I report an emergency or non-emergency?
If it is an emergency – water main break/sewer backup – call 817-392-4477 and select Option 1. Option 1 is answered 24 hours a day. If it is not an emergency, your call goes to the Water Call Center. The center staff responds to calls 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. It is the same phone number, 817-392-4477.
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.