Augusta commissioners discuss proposed solutions for Ellis Street flooding

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - City leaders discussed possible solutions to a long-time problem for neighbors on Ellis Street in downtown Augusta.

Flooding and mold; damages homes, all because of problems with stormwater drainage right off the Calhoun expressway.

On Tuesday, an engineer presented short and long-term solutions to Augusta commissioners. Here’s why neighbors say change needs to happen.

For 15 years now, residents on Ellis Street have dealt with the same flooding issues. It’s reached the point they’re worried if the city doesn’t fix it, they might lose their homes.

“We’re local taxpayers, and we expect more from the city,” said Louis Johnson, Ellis Street resident.

She and her neighbors have an issue. It’s not the noise from cars driving by. It’s the water that runs down when it rains.

“When the water runs out, it just goes wherever it wants to go. I don’t know what was going on with the engineering department from the beginning–whoever built this thing,” said Johnson.

The old stormwater drainage system behind their homes doesn’t hold water, and she says it’s always filled with debris that the city doesn’t clean out regularly.

“I could not walk on my front porch. That’s how much water was in my yard. And God knows in the back,” she said.

Every time it rains, it floods. Their homes have suffered.

Causing mold, rotting wood, floors are lifting, ceilings are cracking, and the house is shifting,” she said.

Johnson says her insurance company won’t cover the cost of repairs because they say it’s the city’s fault for poor drainage. Tuesday was her second time in commission within two months.

Hameed Malik, Augusta Engineering Department, director said: “Short-term solution is continuous cleanup of the drainage ditch.”

The engineering director told commissioners a whole new drainage system is needed, but it would cost $2-3 million, which they don’t have right now.

He suggested putting in the next SPLOST package, which wouldn’t be until 2026. Commissioners said they’ll look at other potential funding sources.

After at least 15 years of the same problem, Johnson wants to see action before it’s too late.

The city added the neighborhood to its flooding hotspot list. That means crews will be cleaning out the ditch more regularly, which should help with some of the floodings. They’ll also look into financial assistance for those who have flood damage to their homes.

“Where is our help? I don’t understand it,” said Johnson.

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