Arbor Oaks residents want to see improved drainage after flooding

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Some people living in the Arbor Oaks neighborhood have learned the results of a drainage study.

Some of the recommendations include clearing the pipes along the Sawmill Branch that borders the neighborhood, installing flap gates on the pipes to prevent water from coming back in the system, lowering pond water levels and building a barrier of land along the canal.

The information was presented at the Summerville Town Hall on Thursday.

The Town of Summerville Engineer and Director of Public Works Russ Cornette says the biggest flooding event was in October of 2015. It was the year of the 1,000-year flood.

Cornette says water went into about 40 homes. Mike Diesburg was among those who flooded.

"It got to be about a foot and half to two feet inside the house," Diesburg said. "I actually had to get a boat up to my door to get my wife and dog in the boat to get them out."

Then the following year it happened again with Hurricane Matthew where city officials say about 20 homes were flooded.

That's when the city decided to conduct a drainage study in Arbor Oaks.

Diesburg says it was a close call this year with Tropical Storm Irma.He worries about the water when there is heavy rainfall.

"The past one, it came within an inch of actually getting inside my house again," he said.

Resident Charles Bernardi says his home didn't flood, but he wants to see action when it comes to improving the drainage.

"It just kept raining, and raining. Of course the creeks overflowed and after that you had about four feet of water in the street," Bernardi said.

Many residents believe surrounding development plays a role in the drainage issues.

"There's a lot of development that's been around in Summerville now for the last three or four years. New development, new housing projects, and the water has to go somewhere," Bernardi said.

The city is in the process of determining how much the improvements will cost.

The recommendations will go to the Summerville Town Council.

"Anything we do is a positive at this point, we can't keep going like this," Bernardi said.  "It's just rough, rough for the family life. It's just rough on everybody."

He says some families in his neighborhood have moved out because of the flooding problems.

City officials say the drainage improvement study started in February or March and it was completed in August.

An engineering consultant, Thomas and Hutton, based out of Mount Pleasant presented the findings.

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