Holly Bluff residents pushing for Yazoo pumps to relieve backwater flooding

Published: Aug. 19, 2019 at 9:57 PM CDT
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YAZOO COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - The Environment Protection Agency could reconsider its 2008 decision to veto the Yazoo Pump Project. In a letter posted by Mississippi’s Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson, the EPA says it is actively working on an option to provide flood protection and protect wetlands in the Yazoo backwater area.

This comes after months of backwater flooding in the Holly Bluff Community that has taken an emotional and financial toll on residents.

Over at Lake George Pub and Eatery in Holly Bluff, the backwater has receded, but the owner says the problems have just begun here -- and he’s not happy about it.

“It damaged all the bottom of wall and the sheet rock,” owner Chuck Perry said.

Chuck says the historic backwater flooding that was on the ground for months did some major damage to his business.

“It was about that thick of mud when the water went down in here, we had to scoop out," he said. “I didn’t have flood insurance, but at $5,000 a month, I can’t afford flood insurance in this small building.”

His son Tre’ Perry is a farmer. His business also took a big financial hit.

“We never made any money. Never got any crops in the field and it all could have been avoided with a simple pump,” said Tre’.

Residents say they want to see pumps installed to relieve the backwater flooding in the future.

EMA Director Jack Willingham says the Yazoo Pump Project plan was vetoed by the Environmental Protection Agency over a decade ago due to environmental concerns.

“Thankfully, by a lot of pressure by Mississippi leaders both in DC, here in the state and the historic flooding, it appears the EPA is going to reconsider the veto. It is very important they do that to prevent this from happening again not only is this affecting lives, but livelihoods,” Willingham said.

The Perry’s couldn’t agree more.

“We need the pumps we were promised 40 years ago,” said Chuck.

“This is our livelihood, this is how we go to Walmart, buy our groceries, this is the way we make our money and it all could’ve been prevented,” added Tre’.

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