West Ashley neighbors concerned about flooding almost entering their homes

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 3:37 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2022 at 11:27 AM EDT
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WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCSC) - Neighbors in a West Ashley community say they are frustrated and anxious after floodwater crept up to their homes, and a potential solution could be a few years away.

Bennett Barton and Rachel Brunette said Thursday’s rainstorms flooded both the road and their backyards, almost getting into their houses. They said as cars passed by, the wake would go up and slap against their front doors.

“This is my first house; I didn’t know what to expect,” Barton said. “I started panicking. I couldn’t leave to get sandbags or any preventative measures because the road was flooded, too.”

They said as cars passed by, the wake would go up and slap against their front doors.

“At one point, I even got pitchers and just was pouring them into my sink from my screened-in porch,” Barton said. Didn’t do anything, but it made me ease my mind a little bit.”

The Woodlands neighborhood is part of the Dupont Wappoo Watershed, which consists of around 1,000 acres of West Ashley surrounding the Citadel Mall.

The City of Charleston said they are spending $5 million on four out of the 10 scheduled projects to improve downstream water flow under Interstate 526. Once that is done, the city will be increasing the size of pipes and canals near the Woodlands neighborhood to get the water out faster.

“There’s not a lot of elevation change to make that water flow very quickly,” Charleston Director of Stormwater Management Matthew Fountain said, “so those very small ditches don’t work for how much pavement, how many buildings we have in the basin now.”

Brunette said it is not uncommon for her to have to check the weather radar before she leaves for work.

“So, when I’m away for the day, I have to be prepared that whether my windows are open, whether the dog is in or out, and like you said if the vehicle is in the right place in case it does flood,” Brunette said. “There’s been a couple of cars that have been flooded out. The landscaping, you can’t keep decent landscaping. It washes away.”

The city said they are optimistic construction on the projects will start in 2025, but until then, Barton said his anxiety will continue.

“If it had rained for two more hours or it was going into high tide, I think my living room would have been underwater,” Barton said. “Who knows how much that would have cost?”