News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- An Augusta family has still not been able to return to their home after weekend storms flooded them out.
B.B. Langham lives near Rocky Creek, a known flood zone.
However, he says the rain is only partly to blame -- he is also blaming the city. Neighbors say they need to clean up the garbage that may have caused it all.
Langham is struggling to tell his kids why they don't have toys, which were ruined in the flooding. But he has no problem telling city leaders to clean up their mess.
Langham told News 12, "It floated furniture up, it tore furniture up. I got three children and it damaged their clothes."
The youngest, just a 2-week-old baby. For B.B. Langham and his family, the weekend flooding has left them knee deep in problems.
"You name it, I've seen it come down [Rocky] Creek, other than a body," Langham said.
He says debris and garbage are causing drainage problems at Rocky Creek just behind his home.
Who does he blame?
"This was negligence, negligence by the city of Augusta, Richmond County," Langham said.
He says it's been 22 years of it and he put these marks on the wall to prove it.
Langham says a dilapidated Regency Mall isn't helping.
"We've tried and tried to tell them that creek needs to be cleaned out," he said.
Augusta Commissioner Bill Lockett said, "They should be able to live in a safe environment, but for 22 years, he feels like he hasn't? Well, you know, I think he has a legitimate gripe."
Commissioner Lockett has been by the home several times just this week. He agrees it's negligence.
"We've been really slow in doing something to stop that from happening," he said.
Lockett suggests a storm water tax so places like Regency Mall that are contributing to this mess can help foot the bill.
In the meantime, he wants to get inmates involved.
"To get them to clean out this body of water so that the water coming in will flow easily," Lockett said.
But for Langham and his family, it's all a little too late with a yard full of furniture, car seats and ruined toys.
"They can pay now or they can pay later, later they are going to be paying me and an attorney," Langham said.
Lockett says they don't want it to get to that point.
He also mentioned it is a great possibility they could ask folks living near that area to relocate, but they want to hear from homeowners if that is something they'd consider.
Meanwhile, Langham has had help from Red Cross but that's run out, and they are now having to stay with family.