GREEN In the 52 years Margaret Baker has lived in her home on East Comet Road in Green, she had never experienced any flooding in her backyard.
That changed recently following the completion of the NEXUS Pipeline project as Baker said the field behind her property was graded wrong leading to four feet of water sitting in her backyard.
“I have never had water like this,” Baker said.
The pipeline doesn’t run on Baker’s property, but it is only 400 feet away. Baker granted NEXUS temporary access to a small portion of her property. Behind her property is a field, where the pipeline runs through, which is owned and farmed by Dennis Hartong.
Prior to the NEXUS project, there was an embankment near Baker’s property line. That embankment was gone following the completion of the project and the land sloped towards her property resulting in water running toward her property. The water has manure in it, she said, which is being washed onto her property from the nearby field.
Baker said she watched as NEXUS even hauled away dirt behind her property, which could have been used to create the embankment that used to be there.
Baker contacted NEXUS and she said NEXUS questioned whether there were drain tiles in the field and if so, maybe one of them had broken. Baker reached out to the Hartongs, who confirmed there are no drain tiles in the field.
“The whole field is graded wrong,” Baker said.
She said NEXUS spent a some time surveying but questions if the company ever surveyed her embankment. She believes it was in a rush to survey and get the trees down.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) visited Baker’s property several times, taking photos, but Baker said it never offered a real solution.
NEXUS also told Baker she needed to prove there was an embankment at the rear of her property, which she did with some photos of the area before the pipeline project began.
After several weeks of frustration, Baker said NEXUS finally came and fixed the embankment behind her home.
Concerns still exist
While the embankment has been fixed in the rear of Baker’s property, water continues to sit in her yard and she wants to see the side of her property against the field built up because much of it has eroded away.
“I could be dead by the time they fix this,” Baker said.
She said NEXUS originally offered to bring her a pump so she could pump some of the water off her property.
“They expect a 73-year-old lady to stand out here and do the pumping,” Baker said.
Baker’s daughter, Tammy Chapman, said she wasn’t going to man the pump either and said it is illegal to pump water on someone else’s property as they claim NEXUS suggested.
“The city would be out here in a minute,” Chapman said.
Chapman said the water needs to be hauled away.
Baker’s property isn’t the only one experiencing flooding in the area. A neighboring property also had water approaching their home and the homeowner had to pump water away from their home.
“There has been no respect for people who are going through this,” Chapman said.
Just recently, NEXUS offered to bring a pump and have someone who Baker believes would be a subcontractor pump the water into the neighboring field. She was OK with this until NEXUS asked her to sign paperwork stating that the water is not contaminated.
Baker said she has no idea if the water is contaminated and refused to sign the paperwork. Baker also refused NEXUS' offer to write her a check and then pay the company that would pump the water.
In the rear of her property, there are several pine trees which she said have now been sitting in water for two years. Baker said she has had three tree companies look at them and all said they are dying.
Baker’s frustration with the NEXUS project goes beyond the flooding. She said she is afraid to even sit on her back patio now because of people walking constantly in the field behind her home where the pipeline is located. Even though the pipeline is operational, she said people are always walking around so she opts to stay inside her house and had a security system installed.
NEXUS said they want to fix any problems.
“We remain committed to working to address individual landowner concerns as the restoration process continues along the route,” NEXUS Pipeline spokesperson Adam Parker said. “During the restoration process, we strive to restore the work area to as close as practicable to its original contours. The entire work area will be restored in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local permits. Landowners with questions regarding restoration activities are encouraged to call our toll-free, 24-hour hotline at (844) 589-3655.”
Green Councilman Matthew Shaughnessy has visited the property and Councilman Rocco Yeargin has been in contact with Baker.