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Storm Drains Give Warner Robins Mom Safety Concerns | Families

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Storm Drains Give Warner Robins Mom Safety Concerns
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A Warner Robins mom says she's not happy with the storm drains in her neighborhood.

They drains are doing what they're intended to do, but Karen Popp told 13WMAZ, they might be capable of more than getting rid of water.

Popp says she and her husband loved the Kensington neighborhood off Lake Joy for their three children, ages five, three and one.

Popp said, "I have to have eyes on the back of my head and sides."

That's particularly true when they play in their cul-de-sac she says, because of the storm drains.

Popp said, "They're just so wide and deep."

She showed 13WMAZ how her 3-year-old son's balance bike could easily fit into the drain. Popp said, "The bike could slide in, and he could follow it. He'd be down there, I couldn't get to him."

Popp's neighbor and board member of the neighborhood's home owner's association, John Day, worries, too.

He measured the drains height at ten inches tall. Day says that's the maximum height for drains, specified in city code.

Day said, "That's all fine and dandy. All that indicates is that the code needs to be changed."

Popp said she talked with city engineers a month ago, wanting bars installed across the openings.

She said, "I went on vacation for two weeks thinking something would be done. They were going to send somebody out here. Nobody's been out here in the time we've been gone. I haven't heard a response. I am not waiting any longer."

Day insisted the problem needs to be addressed with protective bars.

He said, "They need to put them on every drain in the subdivision, actually throughout the city, if they're in the same sort of shape."

13WMAZ looked on other streets, finding a few drains the same height and a few smaller. The difference between the storm drains in Popp's neighborhood and others, seemed to be the steep incline into the opening, which could possibly make them dangerous to small children.

Popp said if one of her children slipped in, "It would be my worst nightmare."

Before our visit with Popp Wednesday morning, Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen told us he knew about her complaint. He said the city planned to install bars on those drains to relieve her concerns.

A few hours after our visit, Popp says city workers came to her street to measure the drains, so those bars can be installed.

Public Works Director Joe Musselwhite said he also knew about Popp's concerns. He said from time-to-time, people call the city with the same type of worries about drains. Musselwhite said the city has installed the metal bars on the drains a few times in the past.

He says in his 21 years with the city, he has never heard of a person falling into one of the drains. Musselwhite added, "I'm not saying it couldn't happen. We will do anything to help from a safety standpoint."

He said city engineers make sure storm drains meet city code, by reviewing developers design plans, before they are built.

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