Heavy rain causes man-made lake to flood road

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

Last night's rain is causing problems in Columbia County. In one Evans area neighborhood, the six hours of rain brought a man-made lake up about a foot, causing it to spill across Lake Jean Road.

The man who built the lake, Bill Tiller, says it can get much worse...and has. He's had to do major construction to keep his family's house from washing away.

Water rushes across Lake Jean Road after every heavy rain. Tiller worries about his great-grandchildren playing too close.

"They play in it, and it's dangerous," he says.

Tiller built the lake and all the houses nearby, and named the road after his wife of 64 years. Now he watches out for his granddaughter across the street.

A flood a few months ago washed away the back porch and the entire yard.

"The foundation was damaged," says Tiller. "We had to jack it up."

He had to build a cement foundation in the back yard, and put the grass on top of it.

"We had to build the yard back, or lose the house."

Tiller has been a developer since World War II. He suspects the overflow happens because of nearby construction runoff blocking the water in.

Emergency Services director Pam Tucker says the county watches the area every time it rains.

"When it rains really hard, that creek picks up too and you got a little river going through there," Tucker says. "We go ahead and get the road closed...you know, barricades up, and close it off," she says.

Tucker says the county hopes to fix the flood-prone area with money from a bond referendum. However, the county says they do not have any plans to work on the road right now, because not enough traffic uses it.

It causes a slight inconvenience for people trying to drive through...and a safety concern for people like Bill Tiller, who worry about what it means for the neighborhood kids.

"It will wash them right down the stream!" he says.

Tiller says building the lake was his childhood dream.

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