Arrington calls drainage a quality of life issue

Arrington calls drainage a quality of life issue
September 01 10:27 2018 Print This Article

First Congressional District candidate Katie Arrington kicked off her Flooding Solutions Roundtable tour Thursday at the home of Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin. She called a properly functioning drainage system a quality of life issue and said she will work with state and local government officials to ensure that the proper maintenance is done. “The easiest solution is preventive maintenance.” Arrington said. She will visit neighborhoods from Hilton Head to Summerville weekly before the November 6 election. The next stop is Goose Creek on September 4. She and her staff were taking notes about drainage problems voters were concerned with and the the local government jurisdictions involved.

The most common concern Arrington heard from voters Thursday is that ditches, storm drains and retention ponds are not being maintained on a regular basis. There were also many comments about the need to stop filling in wetlands and clear-cutting trees in new developments. West Ashley resident Ken Heider said a drainage ditch in his neighborhood which used to be more than six feet deep is now less than two feet deep. A Summerville HOA president said that all the retention ponds in his subdivision are filling with sediment and causing stormwater runoff to spill into residents’ yards. Senator Sandy Senn is now heading a Charleston County Legislative Delegation task force to deal with those issues.

Arrington has pledged to have one member of her Congressional staff who will focus entirely on flooding and drainage issues. She wants to get FEMA to become more responsive to the needs of Lowcountry flooding victims and wants to change a 1975 law which prohibits homebuyers from learning about the flooding history of a particular property. She says she will aggressively pursue federal funding for improving the drainage infrastructure in the district.

Griffin recently influenced Charleston City Council to fund the first of seven drainage improvements recommended in the Church Creek Drainage Basin Study, a water storage canal along easements in the Hickory Farms subdivision. Griffin said that federal funding would be instrumental is the installation of about 10 tidal surge gates called for in the plan, which carries a $1.5 million price tag.