CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Several inches of rain fell on Monday across the Lowcountry leaving extensive flooding behind. That led to major problems on roadways and properties taking a toll on drivers, homeowners, and business owners.
The flooding impacts were felt in the City of Charleston, North Charleston, and more.
For one West Ashley family, the flooding and frustration aren’t new.
“It’s constantly getting worse,” said Matt Cody, a resident of Sandcroft Drive in West Ashley.
Photos and videos show major flooding on their street Monday. Matt and his wife, Kelly, say it’s a problem they have been dealing with for over three years.
“The water can’t drain so we have standing water in our backyard constantly,” said Cody. “So, we have mosquitos, flooding, and any time it rains like this, it goes into our house, our garage…”
Cody says there is also water underneath the house that isn’t able to dry out.
The City of Charleston’s Stormwater Management Division has been involved and has completed some of the work that needs to be done to fix the problem including emergency ditch clearing and maintenance, heavy excavation work such as tree stump and root removal, cleaning of the roadside system, and more.
“We had the city come out about a year ago after multiple emails,” said Cody.
There’s a reason the problem isn’t being resolved and it’s a problem that the city says is out of their hands.
“Unfortunately I think what’s still leading to a lot of the flooding is we can only take those cleaning efforts up to the edge of what’s basically called the critical area or the marsh. Once you hit the marsh area, you have to get a separate set of permits,” said Matthew Fountain, Charleston’s Stormwater Management Director.
Those are federal permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state permits from the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Fountain says it can take years to get those permits because of a struggling permit processing system. However, the city has been working with federal and state agencies to streamline the process.
“The City of Charleston along with many other counties and cities along the entire coastal section of south Carolina have been working for probably the last five and a half years or so with the state, and the last few years with the corps, trying to come up with a more efficient permitting system to be able to address these,” said Fountain.
Over the last few years, some progress on that has been made and Fountain is hopeful that soon the permitting system will take closer to three to six months instead of two years.
He says the Cody’s neighborhood is one on the list that the city plans to hire a consultant to prepare the permit application, go through the permitting process, then, once approved, hire contractors to begin extensive and expensive work to clear out the marsh.
In the meantime, the Cody family is still frustrated by the, sometimes, lakefront property that they didn’t sign up for.
“We have to worry about cars coming through, our cars being flooded,” said Cody. With my four-month-old, if we can’t get out of our house, if emergency vehicles can’t get there, that’s a major issue.”
Fountain says across the city, several projects are underway that will significantly improve flooding.
In the City of North Charleston, major flooding was also seen on Monday. A spokesperson for the city says anytime there is heavy rainfall in a short amount of time, the drainage system can become overwhelmed but, in yesterday’s case, the water cleared out within a few hours.