Charleston to focus on stormwater management

Charleston to focus on stormwater management
November 14 09:52 2018 Print This Article

The City of Charleston is taking steps to create a stand-alone Stormwater Management department. The city’s Public Works committee advanced the idea Tuesday. Stormwater management is currently a function of the Public Service Department, which also handles vehicle maintenance, trash and garbage pickup, sidewalk maintenance and building inspections. Despite the frequent flooding events in the city since 2015, stormwater management has not been a high priority in the past.

The new department, which will need to be approved in two more readings by City Council, would include a project manager to oversee drainage maintenance and another project manager to oversee engineering upgrades, like the Church Creek Drainage Basin plan. Mayor John Tecklenburg said new ditch maintenance crews will be hired. He suggested that the funding for the department will come from stormwater fees, which were increased by 33% in 2018. Councilman Keith Waring, the Public Works committee chair, noted that drainage maintenance has been under-funded for decades.

Committee member Peter Shahid toured neighborhoods in his Old Towne district (surrounding Charles Towne Landing) on July 20, following a short early-morning rain storm and noticed significant flooding. He addressed engineering flaws in five neighborhoods which exacerbate flooding and stated that solutions need to be reached. Robert Harleston said the July 20 rainstorm cost him $15,000 in repairs. Skip Gosnell said that his property has flooded 16 times in eight years. Shahid said, “They (his constituents) can’t endure this anymore. We have got to develop a plan to solve this problem permanently.”