12 OYS: Flooding problem in Graniteville community deemed act of nature

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 8, 2014

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW) -- Stephen Strohminger who heads up Aiken County Planning and Development said his agency is not responsible for the flooding issues in one Graniteville neighborhood. The problem has left homeowner Jack Pride angry. "I want the water turned off of me, and that's all. I want, I want the mud turned off of me," said Pride.

He said since development began on the Gregg's Mill subdivision near his home, when it rains, he has had to deal with a tidal wave of muddy water rushing from a drainage pipe and overflowing into his swimming pool. "I think it's been clogged up for a long time, and probably it was supposed to be draining to those other properties," said Strohminger.

But never this bad. So who is to blame? "We were requested to go and clean out the pipe prior to the development coming in," said Bobby Usry who is a maintenance engineer for the state transportation department. A request Usry said was made by the developer.

While Usry said at one time the 62 year-old pipe was not properly maintained, he said the state is not at fault for the flooding, and neither is the developer who he said met all requirements.

"During the encroachment process, we do require the developer to show that there is no net increase runoff," said Usry.

He showed News 12 a topographic map that indicated an intermittent creek ran through the area. He said that at times when it rains, runoff flows through that drainage pipe and into the neighborhood.

"It's the natural lay of the land," said Usry. We also asked Usry if just the act of clearing the land for the subdivision could have caused
the excess runoff when it rains. "It can. I mean when you change the parameters of an undeveloped piece of property, and you add homes and impervious areas, of course it changes the runoff characteristics," said Usry.

So, after our investigation, we found it all seems to run back to mother nature. County officials said something called a stormwater assessment was done before construction even began, and no issues were found. Meanwhile homeowner Jack Pride told News 12 that a group of folks in that neighborhood have retained an attorney to see what their options are.

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