Dirty ditch does its job with water

We've noticed a ditch along Rossanley Drive, near its intersection with Cheshire Drive, has had stagnant water and trash floating in it for some time now. It looks like a health hazard. Whose responsibility is it to clean it up?

— Mary J., Central Point

It sounds like the ditch is doing a fine job of fulfilling its job description, Mary.

"A ditch is supposed to collect water," said Gary Leaming, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Leaming said the rain storms that pushed through the area a few weeks ago might have some ditches fuller than normal, and the standing water will become unhealthy should someone decide to take a dip.

"There shouldn't be any concern over mosquitoes this time of year," Leaming said.

The trash floating in the ditch is, unfortunately, a fact of life along most highways throughout the state, Leaming said.

"Every highway and road has trash along side it," Leaming said. "We do our best with clean-up crews that collect trash, but drivers do litter."

One recourse residents have is to join ODOT's "Adopt-a-Highway" program. The agency provides volunteers with bright vests, signs and bags if they want to spend a portion of their weekend cleaning up along the highways, Leaming said.

If you're concerned about this particular ditch, Mary, you can phone ODOT and ask that a clean-up crew make a pass through he area. They will try to make it that way when possible.

To learn more about the "Adopt-a-Highway" program visit http://goo.gl/yZ7ERP

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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