Jackson woman: Neighbor’s ‘illegal’ pipe floods her yard weekly

Resident says code services manager told her his ‘hands were tied’ after neighbor skips court
Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 8:35 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For five years, Janet McGee has dealt with flooding in her South Jackson backyard, stemming from a neighbor’s pipe that runs alongside her property.

That pipe runs from her neighbor’s garage to the end of his yard and twice a week, McGee said water runs under his fence.

McGee suspects it’s coming from a washing machine inside Jessie Jones' garage.

Remnants of detergent can be seen in the mud near the fence.

Over time, that water has also pooled against the fence itself, causing parts of it to collapse.

“It’s a little bit of karma," McGee said, “It’s his lake, which rotted his own fence."

The backyard, seen easily through the gaps in the wooden fence, shows a backyard that looks very different than the manicured front yard of Jones' home: foot-high weeds, the remnants of a shed and an above-ground pool sits in a crumpled heap behind the home.

McGee had plans for a garden in her backyard, but fears chemicals have been absorbed into the soil for so long that it has contaminated the ground.

Over the last five years, McGee said she reached out to the city countless times, eventually triggering Jackson’s code enforcement officers to investigate and determine her neighbor, Jessie Jones, was in violation of the city’s plumbing code in December 2019.

A letter obtained by 3 On Your Side from Code Services Manager Jerry Woods -- and addressed to Jones -- stated sewage appeared to be leaking from his property onto the adjoining properties.

The final notice said Jones' water would be cut off if he failed to comply -- and it was briefly -- but was restored before Jones made any repairs or adjustments to his property.

At the same time, McGee said Jones didn’t show up in court despite being subpoenaed.

“The code enforcement [employee] says there was nothing else that they could really do at that point," McGee said. "Since he didn’t go to court, they said their hands were tied.”

McGee said she then went up the ladder, calling councilmembers and then-public works director Bob Miller.

Eventually she said her calls stopped being returned.

“I’ve actually had employees, I won’t mention any of their names, basically tell me nothing’s gonna get done," McGee said. "'Call 3 On Your Side, you have a better chance there.' So that’s what I’m doing.”

3 On Your Side reached out to Jones, who arrived at his home shortly after our interview with McGee ended.

Jones, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2017, declined an on-camera interview, saying he didn’t want to give this story more attention.

He also had been charged with grand larceny in an unrelated matter involving water theft, not drainage, and told us that charge had been dropped after Jackson employees investigated the allegation.

Jones did say he could fix the problem on his own property, though he didn’t say when that might happen.

McGee said that’s all she wants.

“Just remove the pipe,” McGee said. “I really don’t care what he does with it as long as it’s not coming on my property."

3 On Your Side also contacted Jackson Public Works Director Charles Williams about the issue.

Williams said he will revisit the matter to figure out why it still hasn’t been resolved.

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