River of Trash: Arlington woman sues city over drainage problem

Woman's dream property turns into a nightmare

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - An Arlington resident says her yard has become a drainage ditch collecting oily water and neighborhood garbage, and now she's suing the city.

"Oil floats on the top of it," said Betty Warner, "Bags of trash come, if it's trash day and it rains."

She shared a video of her backyard flooded during a rainstorm, with water overflowing from the pond and surrounding parts of her home.

Warner built her dream home on three acres in the Wimbledon neighborhood 10 years ago.  She created a backyard oasis with a swimming pool and a koi pond, where she enjoys spending time with friends, family and her grandchildren.

"I like to entertain, have parties," she said. "Just enjoy it."

Warner said the problem started about seven years ago, and she believes it's tied to increased development on nearby Cooper Street. 

"You've put all this concrete in, you have to displace that water," she said. 

Warner said that when the problem started, she called the City of Arlington and worked with them to try to make adjustments. She said she installed a $150,000 retaining wall around the pond at the city's recommendation, but then the city told her there was no other recourse.

"A gentleman told me that it has always been the City of Arlington's intention to flood this property and use it for runoff," said Warner.

Warner said the city claimed that there was an agreement with a previous landowner in the 1970's permitting the drainage use, but she said she was never made aware of it when she purchased the property and built her home.

"I asked him, 'Why did you let me build a $2 million home here?' And he said, 'It's not our business to tell you what to do with your property,'" she recalled.

A city spokesperson said they couldn't comment on the suit because they have not received it yet, but they said they haven't changed drainage in the neighborhood. They did confirm that they have communicated with Warner about the issue in the past.

Warner worries about the stability of here home, and she hopes the lawsuit will compell Arlington to stop the drainage problem and pay her back for approximately $500,000 she's spent trying to fix the problem.

"I feel like they don't care.  I'm going to lose my property, and I don't know what to do to make them fix it and make it right," she said.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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