Hartsville community dealing with flooding for 24 years
Hartsville, S.C. (WPDE) —
Some people who live off of Patrick Highway near Ousleydale Road in Hartsville said they've flooded eight times since 1994.
They woke up early Thursday morning to find their homes surrounded by water.
Some residents, like Kathy Brandis, hadn't moved back into their houses following Hurricane Florence and now they're faced with more water.
“This last time we had to move out. It came in on us. Extensive damage, underneath from what I’ve been told. Mold from the previous hurricanes and heavy rains. So, yep, it’s a mess. Ruined my home. I’m displaced now. I’m living in another place. I’d like to come home but, unless they fix the water problem coming from back there at that retention pond or that dam, the county or the state, I don’t know care who. What’s the good give me fixing my home? For eight to do it again," said Brandis.
Carl Moore said he's been fighting the flooding problem for nearly 25 years.
“I’m sick of it. I’ve had to replace my heat pump to my house three times since all of this. And finally, I put my duct work up there. But it’s still a got back in there when Florence hit a couple of weeks ago, and I had to replace the floor in that. Now, it will probably come back in there again," said Moore.
Moore said he's spent countless hours investigating and researching what the problem is behind all the flooding.
He believes it all starts with a ditch that was partially covered years ago.
Moore said water can't flow through the ditch to Black Creek. It instead backs up and flows across Johns Street onto his yard and those of his neighbors on Patrick Highway.
“They call it a reservoir back there where the water collects, I think, over 300 and something acres of land. And you collect that much water, over a length of time. And when the dam breaks, the water goes down hill. You can tell the dam has not been maintained for years and years, because it has trees in the middle of the ditch," said Moore.
Moore said he's complained to the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and Darlington County since 1994.
He showed us a letter SCDOT sent him in 2005. An excerpt from the letter said , "Apparently, water backs up in this drainage ditch and breaches the ditch bank resulting in localized flooding. However, Mr. Bobby Richardson, Director of Roads and Bridges for Darlington County, confirmed that the water in this drainage ditch does not come from SCDOT right-of-way or roadways.
Also, during the investigation it was found that the outfall ditch carrying the water along the edge of the field on S-115 is holding water and the outlet end of the cross-line pipe under SC-102 is partially blocked."
The letter went on to say that Moore was recommended to contact the Darlington County Roads and Bridges Department about the drainage of the ditches.
Moore said he's contacted the county several times, but gets nowhere.
"Something's got to be done. Since ‘94? And it continues on. And this makes the eighth time this is happened. But they don’t think we got a problem around here," explained Moore.
Some people who live on Atkinson Road, near Patrick Highway, complain of the same flooding problems.
They said their yards are consumed with water because of the poor drainage system and the blocked ditches and pipes.
Neighbors said they want something done because they feel like their cries for help have been ignored since 1994.
We emailed Darlington County Administrator Charles Stewart to get a statement about the community's problem.
We'll let you know when we hear back from him.