James Island residents ask for federal help after concerns over James Island Creek

Updated: Jan. 22, 2020 at 5:21 PM EST
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - James Island residents living near the James Island Creek say water and sewage seep into their yards during heavy rain events. They are now calling on state and federal legislators for help.

Neighbors living on Laurel Park, Marlborough and surrounding areas say they have experienced this issue for years. Franny Henty, a long-time James Island resident, says that during high tides the creek is riddled with sewage and the homes in those neighborhoods receive all the septic water that runs back.

"I started speaking more and educating myself more about what can the local government and the state government do to help us so we're not in cesspools," Henty said. It's not good enough for us or our children, or our grandchildren."

In the past, tests conducted for the waterway showed high levels of bacteria, according to the Charleston Waterkeeper. Some of that comes from fecal matter.

The James Island Creek has experienced at least two sewage leaks within the last few months of 2019.

The most recent water samplings still show issues with the water quality in the creek. Approximately 64% of all samples that Charleston Waterkeeper collect show the creek does not meet the state’s safe standards for swimming.

That's why neighbors are reaching out to First District Rep. Joe Cunningham's office for help. Henty says she hopes lawmakers will be to help them stop sewage tie-ins in the area, until all the problems with the creek are dealt with.

“The federal government is going to give some of their knowledge and their advice, but [this issue] is more for the public service district,” JIPSD Commissioner Meredith Poston said. “This is an issue that we definitely know is going to be going on a long time.”

Poston says a lot of these issues neighborhoods are having is partially due to the location and over-development.

“When it rains it comes right up, and we have the over development where too many homes are making it so that there’s too much impact on the systems, on the drainage, and just on Plum Island,” Poston said. “There are millions of dollars that we are going to put into this in replacing piping and really trying to fix more barriers.”

During the James Island intergovernmental council meeting on Jan.29, Poston said she will be giving a presentation on this topic. The public is welcome to attend.

Henty and other neighbors will be meeting with a representative from Cunningham’s team during his satellite hours on Friday. It will happen from 11 a.m. to noon at the Baxter Patrick Library.

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