Pepperhill drainage study underway, funded by City of North Charleston

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A drainage study launched by the City of North Charleston is underway in the Pepperhill Neighborhood.

The community experienced heavy flooding during the '1,000-year' flood and Hurricane Matthew, displacing several families from their homes.

The study will be conducted by CDM Smith Inc, an engineering and construction company based in Boston.

Pepperhill resident Lonnie Ivery has lived on Peppercorn Lane for about 18 years.

It was supposed to be his forever home.

The 1,000 year-flood in October of 2015 had different plans.

"In the back of our house, it was all the way past the window running into the house," Ivery said. "It messed up the den, it messed up the whole house. We had to take all the carpet out. We had to take all the furniture, everything out. We lost everything in the house."

Volunteers gutted his house, he hired a contractor, and moved into a motel for two and half months until his house was livable.

Within a year, Lonnie and his wife were displaced again.

This time it was Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

"Start all over again...not good," Ivery said.

Now the City of North Charleston is funding a study to investigate what is causing the flooding and possible solutions in and around the Pepperhill Neighborhood.

They'll also look at the wetlands nearby including the McChune Branch.

The city has a $96,000 cap on the study.

Many residents believe the construction of Palmetto Commerce Parkway with the lack of drainage is to blame.

"If they don't come up with something we'll have to sell our house and move," Ivery said.

It's a last resort for the Ivery's, but it might have to be an option.

There are still vacant homes in Pepperhill from the flooding two years ago.

"It's not a happy feeling. It's really not a happy feeling to have to leave our home again," Ivery said.

In March, more than 20 residents living in Pepperhill were looking to file a lawsuit against the city.

The lawsuit would look into whether the city properly maintained the drainage system.

We've reached out to the law firm representing the homeowners, and we're waiting to hear back on if that lawsuit was filed or not.

The City of North Charleston applied for a FEMA gr ant for the drainage study following the flooding in 2015.

City officials say they were told they would be awarded some FEMA funding, but because they haven't yet received those funds, the city decided to go ahead and proceed with the study.

The study is expected to be completed by January of next year.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.