'Wow' says homeowner as city tackles 10-year flooding, drainage problem after News 12 makes call

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The cellphone video tells the story. Yards became rivers in a matter of minutes.

Brian Johnson says he is fed up with an issue that dates backs more than a decade.

"Our neighbors are suffering. We're suffering out here," said Johnson, who believes the problem can be traced to a clogged storm water sewer line behind his property.

"Every time there is a rain, we are poised to fight the water rushing in our homes," Johnson said. "It makes us feel horrible."

We found the pipes clogged with tree limbs and debris. The flood waters have eroded Johnson's yard.

"It's a dangerous situation," he said. "Not just the damage to the yard, but the accumulation of water and mosquitoes."

Engineering Director Abbie Ladson tells News 12 the pipes date back to 1972.

"Those pipes have actually somewhat failed," Ladson said.

"I'm upset because we shouldn't have to live in conditions like this," Johnson said. "I feel like it's a swamp."

Johnson issued a challenge to News 12.

"Our system is clogged up. It's flooding our homes and flooding our yards," he said. "We're just hoping that somebody will pay attention to this issue and do something about it."

We called the city Engineering Department and it was not long before crews were hard at work.

"Wow!" Johnson said. "I'm stunned. Yesterday you came out, and today, we have results."

Many local families are experiencing similar flooding issues due to outdated and clogged drains.

The Engineering Department is planning to recommend a countywide storm water utility fee of about $6 a month that would generate $10 million a year to tackle the city infrastructure.

"I think the big issue is probably the infrastructure is probably worn out," Ladson said.

Johnson is just happy a once-clogged drain is now flowing again.

"We have an army of people out here solving our problem that we've been trying to get solved for probably better than 10 years," he said with a smile. "So 10 years ... one day, I call Chris, and the next day, I got action."

He calls this his News 12 testimony.

"It is a testimony that you guys are actually on our side," Johnson said.

The Engineering Department says the pipes near Johnson's home ultimately need to be replaced. They insist it will be done in the next month. News 12 plans to hold them accountable.

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