New ditches leave neighbors on James Island frustrated

The Investigators

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Nan Braswell called the Count on 2 Investigators after finding a freshly dug ditch in the front yard of her James Island home.

“I came home and there was a huge ditch dug all the way across my yard,” she said.

Braswell said she was not warned about upcoming work in her Whitehouse Plantation neighborhood.

“I saw some people working out there yesterday when I left but, I didn’t have any idea what they were doing,” she said.

City of Charleston Storm Water Director Matthew Fountain said the ditch was part of a proactive approach to maintenance. Crews, he said, have been going from neighborhood to neighborhood clearing ditches that haven’t been maintained in years.

“We really have to back and bring those systems up to where they were when they were originally designed,” said Fountain. “That is one of the best things we can do to help mitigate flooding –it is relatively low cost, it’s maintenance-oriented.”

Fountain said the ditches are an important way to mitigate flooding.

Braswell said she doesn’t understand the need for the ditches because the neighborhood doesn’t deal with flooding.

Fountain said they need to maintain drainage systems before they become a problem.

“You really don’t get like a gradual warning necessarily for flooding,” he said.

Fountain acknowledged poor communication with James Island neighbors and said they have made changes to ensure residents are informed of upcoming work.

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