James Island neighbors waiting for flooding solutions

Updated: May. 12, 2020 at 9:33 PM EDT
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - James Island neighborhoods may see a solution to their flooding problems, but some residents are waiting to see the changes.

Neighborhoods like Malborough and Laurel Park have seen a lot of flooding over the years, and some people believe there have been no significant fixes as of yet.

Jimmy Mazyck says he cleans out the ditches around the area after each storm. After a storm hit in late April, he found a 42-inch pipe under the EME apartment complex, that was completely blocked off with large stones.

Mazyck said it was “mind-blowing” to discover the pipe, considering the City of Charleston had just finished evaluating the area for drainage improvements.

"For them to do a big study and not find stuff like this and I come out here on my bicycle and find it, that's crazy," Mazyck said. "I hope somebody wakes up and realizes what's going on out here."

Matthew Fountain, the director of stormwater management for the City of Charleston, says they have been working with a consulting firm to evaluate drainage and consider improvements for the north Central Park Road.

After Mazyck's discovery, the city asked the consulting firm if re-opening the pipe would have any improvements on flooding. Fountain says re-opening the pipe wouldn't have a significant impact unless they made a series of other changes first.

“If we’re not going to get significant improvement from reopening it, and reopening the pipe is likely to cost a significant amount of money, What we’re going to do is just rip the whole system of pipes out and replace it," Fountain said. “Which we have to do within the next couple of years anyway as we move forward with this drainage plan.”

Instead of just replacing the pipe, the city will be moving forward with the plan they already have in place. The project the city is looking at extends from Folly Road to Riverland Drive, and from Central Park Road to Maybank Highway.

After the evaluation phase, the city will move into the design and permitting process. Fountain says the goal is to have the final recommendations for improvements up for public comment next month.

He says within that project, the blocked pipe that was discovered would be replaced box culverts and everything would be up-sized.

While Mazyck says the solutions look good on paper, he hopes the city will take into account new development.

“Hopefully you will eventually increase the diameters of the pipes, but you have to take into account they’re planning on building a new neighborhood,” Mazyck said.

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