Leaders, community members meet to discuss flooding problems

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Heavy downpours over the past few weeks have left many streets and homes throughout the area filled with water. Now, leaders are looking for a way to fix it.

On Saturday, county leaders met with the people who live in some of the areas most affected by the flooding. The meeting took place off East Boundary Street in east Augusta, one area that is really having some flooding problems.

About 25 people showed up, shared their stories and waited to hear what will be done.

"My house got flooded, my car got flooded, and I just got tired of staying down here and being flooded, so I just moved away," said resident William Harris Jr.

Flooding has been a familiar sight and the people who live in the neighborhoods in east Augusta say it's becoming a little too familiar.

"You got a lot of people down here on fixed incomes and they taking all their money and they can't pay their bills because of the flood they gotta keep fixing their houses," Harris said.

Leaders agree that not enough attention has been paid to the problem or to the area.

"This area's been neglected. There's no doubt about it," said District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken.

"There's neglect in District 1 for the flooding," added lead water operator Thelonious Jones. "I think we need to focus on the drainage and we need to focus on the infrastructure."

After the flood of concerns from homeowners, leaders met with community members at Hudson Memorial Church to talk about solution.

"You know, looking at the whole situation around the city as far as drainage, that's never been done before," Aitken said.

They're setting up plans and phases to fix drainage in the short run and in the long run.

"We put together some areas that we're gonna look at, as far as checking some of the drains that are down here," Aitken said. "We got some of the addresses that will give us a little bit of a head start on all of that."

But they say long-term solutions are going to cost more.

"We're gonna have to have actually bigger pipes, 60-inch pipes to be able to put into the ground," Jones said. "That's gonna be more expensive, but that's the only way we gonna start solving the problem."

The people who live there say they're tired of the talk and just want answers.

"They hear us, but I'm still hearing the same thing the last administration was saying," Harris said. "We got a position in place, we got this in place, we doing this, but where's the action coming from?"

Aitken says that solution is already on its way.

"We're finding some good solutions. Is it fast enough for some people? Maybe not, but at least we're making the strides to get there," he said.

A lot of those solutions are long term and not necessarily going to help if it rains a lot in the next few days. They will begin cleaning out the drains to hopefully help a little bit, but they say make sure if you do get caught in flooding, stay at home. Don't try to go anywhere or drive on the roads.

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