James Island residents concerned about new storm drain ditches in their neighborhood

Charleston County News

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – The installment of storm drain pipes by the City of Charleston in one James Island neighborhood has residents concerned.

Residents like Gary Kaasa have lived through Hurricane Hugo and the thousand-year flood in the Creek Point community.

“I have been living here through all the hurricanes, the seasons, and the decades that we have been here,” says Gary Kaasa.

Kaasa says he has never seen flooding in the neighborhood, but with these ditches being dug up by the City of Charleston for flood drainage, he is seeing it more often.

“Everything is caving in, water is eroding under driveways where it didn’t use to,” he said.

Officials with the City of Charleston are going through 114 miles of flood drains as part of the Roadside Ditch Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project. Their goal is to get the drains back to their original design due to a lack of maintenance.

“We dig each ditch and customize to each property based on how deep those driveway pipes are and find ways to minimize the erosion issues,” says Matthew Fountain, Director of Storm Water Management for the City of Charleston.

Other neighbors like Jesse Kaasa says he is concerned about the safety of this new system.

“There’s exposed gas lines and power lines so it’s a safety hazard and undermining the property value and as you can see right here the erosion is going to affect the driveway all the down to the road,” says Jesse Kaasa.

City officials say restoring pipelines through this project will benefit the future of flooding in Charleston.

“It’s worth the maintenance efforts to build and maintain a drainage system as we get the increase of intense storm events. It’s really a critical part of keeping the city functional,” Fountain says.

The City of Charleston says they have plans to install more storm drains throughout the city which can take 3 more years.

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