NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - When Patty Virgadamo moved into the Trinity Oaks subdivision 19 years ago, she thought she had discovered a hidden paradise. Beautiful scenery, quality schools, and a hospital, all nearby.
"It was why you choose Pasco," Virgadamo said. She was among the first to buy a home in the neighborhood off of Mitchell Boulevard near New Port Richey.
But in the nearly two decades since, she's had it with the water problems.
"They know we need help," Virgadamo said, pointing to her backyard retention pond that overflowed during Tropical Storm Debby. If her husband hadn't filled enough sandbags around their house, water would have seeped inside.
Despite nearly $3 million in drainage projects by the county and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Trinity Oaks and Thousand Oaks subdivisions continue to have flooding problems.
Virgadamo voiced her concerns before the Pasco Board of County Commissioners, saying something has to be done.
"It's about time because we're so full of water. There's nowhere to go," Virgadamo said. "We're afraid to leave our homes because of all the flooding," she said.
Ron Levi, president of the Trinity Oaks homeowners association, said he can't understand why it's taking so long for the water management district and the county to agree on a solution.
Especially disconcerting for residents is the fact that there are overflowing retention ponds in the area a month after the storm.
"Four weeks later, our ponds are still over a foot where they should be," Levi said. "It should have drained."
Levi told commissioners that a trench needs to be dug along the border of Trinity and 1000 Oaks to alleviate the flooding problem. Otherwise, he expects the problem to get worse.
State officials said they are working with Pasco county for a solution. Robyn Felix with the water management district said that previously installed flood control structures failed during Debby.
"14 to 15 inches of rain in a 24 hour period is too much for the system to handle," Felix said.
Pasco commissioners agreed to hold a meeting with the water management district and possibly a representative with the Army Corps of Engineers.
But for residents like Levi, he's concerned bureaucracy will delay any action anytime soon.
"We have sewage coming up through the streets where people are going and picking up toilet paper," Levi said. "It's not right."
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