Storms Stress Drainage System Could Spawn Sinkholes

Commission To Vote On Downtown Safety Plan (Image 1)

Its forced Lulu Bush to take a detour just to get home to East Hales Street because even after the rain stops all the water isn't draining away in east Augusta.

“The last couple of days it's been flooded it's been flooding and nobody can do anything about the rain but that's God's doing but can somebody else do anything, she asked?

Augusta city engineers say not much.

The rains that we're getting pretty much every day and the intensity is pretty overwhelming,” says Engineering Department Director Abie Ladson.

A lot of the problems are storm pipes check out the drain on Papaya Street, where the water is flowing out of it, not in to It, Ruth Woodard says it really erupts in heavy   rains.

“When it rains it will actually gush out like white water rapids and the whole street will fill up,” said Woodard.

With all this rain when the city's metal storm drain pipes fail you get the problem above ground, flooding,  but there are miles and miles of metal storm pipe buried beneath Augusta, and all the rain is increasing  the potential for sinkholes.

Ladson says it's like a ticking time bomb, because sink holes get worse when rain rushes through a rusted drain pipe.

Water is going to deteriorate it wash it away, then it sucks the dirt or the sand that's on top of the pipe and it creates a sink hole, said Ladson.

And with all the rain now rushing through the pipes “you could see a lot more,” says Ladson.

Fixing Augusta's ageing storm system will take millions of dollars and that's why the city is in the process of creating a storm water utility fee to pay for it.

And with all the rain we wanted to know is this making the case for the fee. 

 “I'm not ready to pay any extra fees but I think this is a situation that should be addressed,” said Woodard. 

 Go ahead get it fixed they don't want to swim around here in these floods like this, this has been going on 50 years,” says Bush.

Ladson says commissioners should make a decision on how much to charge for the fee by January of next year.


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