On a recent afternoon, a James Island family was out in a front yard in water up to their knees. A long blue-green hose snaked across the road from a sump pump, diverting some of the lake in the yard to a ditch on the other side of the road.
It’s a common sight lately on Tatum Street, which comes off Folly Road just south of the Wappoo Cut bridge.
“I had three of them (pumps) going,” homeowner Brian O’Quinn said. “The water ends up here and doesn’t go anywhere.”
His mother, Jenny O’Quinn of Headquarters Island, was also wading around in the water, while his father, Terry, assessed the situation from a dry spot.
A neighbor, Clayton White, said he and other residents in Dogwood Park have the same problem.
“The ditches are deep, but there’s nowhere for the water to go,” White said. “That intersection (Tatum and Folly) gets really bad.”
The flooding has been worse with all the rain that’s been drenching the Lowcountry lately, but they all said they were also using sump pumps last year.
They said the road was repaved about three years ago and wonder if that’s not part of the reason the water on the south side of the road doesn’t flow into the drainage ditch on the north side.
“When they built the road up three years ago, that’s when the water started coming in,” Brian said.
They figure there needs to be a pipe under the road leading to the ditch on the other side.
Brian can’t get stuff out of his backyard out because of the water around the house. He brought in two loads of dirt, but it didn’t seem to help.
“If I bring in more dirt to try to fix my problem, it’s only going to make his (White’s) problem worse,” Brian said.
Meanwhile, they’ve burned through several sump pumps battling the flood.
The Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining the road and the ditch, according to Michael Black, district maintenance manager. The Charleston County Transportation Commission used state gasoline-tax money to repave the road a few years ago. Black said he doubts repaving caused the problem.
He sent a crew to the neighborhood Tuesday to check out the situation, They found a clogged drainage pipe near the golf course in the adjacent neighborhood and will come back Wednesday to clear it out.
“That should definitely make a big difference,” Black said.
He said he didn’t think a pipe under the road would be needed but would check the drainage after the pipe is unclogged.
“We’ll stay on it until we get it right,” he said.
Brian was glad DOT was on the problem so fast but was not ready to celebrate yet.
“It easy to say (they’re going to fix it),” he said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.