Dupont-Wappoo drainage project a model of cooperation

by John Steinberger | May 9, 2019 3:21 pm

City of Charleston Stormwater Management Director Matthew Fountain presented an update on the Dupont-Wappoo drainage project Wednesday to the West Ashley Revitalization Commission. The project covers a 1600-acre zone centered around Citadel Mall which drains into the Stono River. The project is a model of inter-governmental cooperation, with Charleston, St. Andrews Public Service District, Charleston County, and SCDOT officials walking through neighborhoods together to observe how the drainage systems are designed and functioning.

Fountain’s system begins with a physical inventory of existing drainage systems neighborhood-by-neighborhood. The next phase is observing the drainage systems during rain events and identifying how high the water gets in different spots and how long it takes the stormwater to drain. That data is entered into a computer model. The data is then used to identify needed drainage infrastructure upgrades and to set maintenance priorities. So far, Fountain has identified 11 areas within the Dupont-Wappoo drainage zone that require drainage improvements.

Since his hire in late February, Fountain has established a preventive maintenance schedule at the neighborhood level. The Stormwater Department’s 74 employees are scheduled to walk through each neighborhood at least twice a year and take corrective actions when needed. Ditches and pipes are being cleared and vacuum excavator trucks are being used to pump out storm drains.

The spirit of cooperation being demonstrated in the Dupont-Wappoo drainage project has been fostered by Senator Sandy Senn, who chairs the Charleston County Legislative Delegation’s Inter-governmental Flooding Prevention Task Force, which was formed with the objective of getting local governments to work in conjunction with SCDOT to tackle the drainage issues which have plagued the area since 2015. Senn says, “You need to get everyone in the room if you want to get anything done.”

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