News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, June 12, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- On their six-month anniversary, Tyler Cooper and his fiancee sit on a couch held up by bricks. It's the end of a long day for this Aiken couple.
"I came in, and there was water 3 inches high. She told me that it got up to 4 inches. There was debris everywhere," Cooper said.
On Monday evening, Cooper was greeted by a pond in his front yard and multiple inches of water inside his home on Whiskey Road near the intersection of Dougherty Road.
"When I got here, the drains were full of water. They weren't draining! They were ponds," Cooper said. "The neighbor kids were swimming in them!"
"We played in the rain for a little while -- the kids and I, and then we went inside, and we were just drying off, and we noticed the side door, there's a walk-through over there, and there was water coming through the side door," adds Lacey Pifer, who lives next door.
The city's drains weren't draining. Instead, multiple houses were flooded.
"During the whole ordeal, we had to unplug all of our electronics, but my computer, unfortunately, was sitting there, and everything got fried," Pifer said.
"A mile down the road, the drains were completely fine. They were draining properly. It's just our drains," Cooper said.
City Councilman Reggie Ebner says the city and the South Carolina Department of Transportation know of the problem, and it's a problem that's been around for a while. He says there's a plan in the works to fix the drains, but so far, there's been no permanent action.
"Well, you have to say it's a government issues because it's a state highway inside the city and the drainage affects the state as well as the city," Ebner said.
No matter who's to blame, the neighbors want a fix.
"I mean, I just need some help. I mean, I'm a, you know, full-time plumber and part-time worker at Papa Johns. I understand that the city has a lot on their plate, but I don't think that should come as a sacrifice to residents who live here," Cooper said.
Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, says this has been a problem since he was elected to the House of Representatives back in 2009. As for the flooding this week, he says the SCDOT has cleared the drains that were not working properly on Monday. However, he's not sure where the City of Aiken is in a more permanent fix. He says there were talks of covering the drainage ditches, laying pipes and making an enclosed underground drainage system.
Ebner says the City of Aiken does have monies available to do this, but it has yet to be acted on.