Work ongoing to alleviate flooding in Goose Creek neighborhood

Officials are working together to bring the ditches and drainage service in an area of Goose Creek up to par after major flooding from summer storms.
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 3:55 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - State, county and city leaders say they are working together to bring the ditches and drainage service in an area of Goose Creek up to par after major flooding from summer storms.

After a staff meeting Tuesday morning, officials say they will be working together during the next 60-90 days on drainage system improvements. Work includes retrenching the ditches to the correct depth to allow flow, as well as inspecting each pipe for breaks or blockages.

Families in the Boulder Bluff and Beverly Hills neighborhoods experience heavy rain and flooded yards and foundations over the summer.

One family even suffered a loss of income when a member fell and broke an ankle trying to clean out the drainage area himself.

One issue the people ran into while trying to voice the problem was knowing who to bring their concerns to.

Mayor Greg Habib of Goose Creek says the city is not directly in charge of that service, but he stepped in to get all the people involved around one table to talk about next steps.

“Yes, they feel like they’re getting the runaround. And it’s because of how we are structured in South Carolina in Berkeley County in the city of Goose Creek,” Habib says.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation manages the roads and easements, the county manages drains and stormwater and many of the addresses are in the city. Those agencies say they are collaborating on a solution.

After heavy rains over the summer and getting multiple calls each, the agencies began workshopping with each other. Habib says he invited everyone to an in-person meeting Tuesday morning in Goose Creek to help.

Berkeley County Councilman Tommy Newell, State Representative Brandon Cox and SCDOT planners all came out.

The department of transportation says they are retrenching all the ditches next to the roads they run. The ditches will be deeper and clearer for water to flow through. The county is going into its drains, and making sure there are no breaks or blocks in those pieces.

“The first thing we need to do is ensure that we get the system back to its proper condition right. Are the ditches the proper depth? Are the storm drains open? Are the pipes underneath the roads all open for flow up and down the system? And so we believe that I personally believe that’ll take care of a lot of the issue” Habib says.

Habib says Boulder Bluff and Beverly Hills are older neighborhoods where many people have lived for nearly 40 years in their homes. He knows that the severe flooding issues have been amplified in past years by the continuing changes to the area.

“It’s important to note that in 60 years ago, when neighborhoods were built there were no stormwater, requirements, stormwater laws, stormwater engineering, there wasn’t any of that. You see a neighborhood get built today, they’re all required essentially to keep their stormwater on their own on the development right. That’s why there are retention ponds and detention drains and all of those things. Well that didn’t happen 60 years ago,” Habib says.

Given the older style of the system and the potential for deterioration, the agencies are doing a full assessment after this summer’s heavy rains. Their work in the next 60-90 days is meant to bring the system up to its max performance ability. Habib hopes that’s the solution to all the problems.

“It may be. I suspect it probably is, but it may not be. And if it’s not, we will then identify what we can do to raise the system up so that it does meet the standard that needs to be there today,” Habib.

Habib says anyone who is having specific problems is always welcome to bring their concerns to the city and county council to explain their issue and get help from the right agency.

“Water doesn’t know the boundaries of a municipality. So the stormwater money from within the city of Goose Creek goes to Berkeley County. Because I believe and so does the county believe that stormwater is much better managed from a macro county perspective than a micro-neighborhood,” Habib says.

Residents in the neighborhood say they are hopeful the work mitigates their issues and look forward to the completion of the retrenching and pipe clearing. Then they will await the next rain, and see if more work is needed, or if their system is doing enough.