Originally created 07/13/01

Resident seeks cleanup help



When Tropical Storm Alison washed over the Augusta area last month, Ed Williams watched as Greenbrier Creek spilled into his basement, storage building and living room.

Now he's asking the county to help clean up the mound of dirt covering part of his garden and ruined carpet piled in his yard.

"I think someone should help me," said the 70-year-old man who lives off Yelton Farm Road in Appling. "There's never been one person out there to look at what's stopped the creek up. There's three trunks, limbs and all kinds of dead stuff out there."

Mr. Williams' property was one of about 25 homes and businesses flooded June 13. The damage was extensive enough to capture the attention of state officials, who declared the county to be in a state of emergency and offered money for road projects and debris removal.

The problem with Mr. Williams' request is a matter of state law: The debris left from the flood is on private property, and county workers cannot go on private property to remove the mess.

"Any rule you have needs to be flexible," Mr. Williams said. "Everybody has told me what they can't do. No one has told me what they can do."

Mr. Williams said he understands the debris is on private property, but that the creek put it there.

"I think the county should clean it up," he said. "They handle road, bridges and stoplights. That creek is the county's."

Commissioner Tommy Mercer said the county does not have many of options. However, he has a plan.

"We're not going to leave you out on your own here," he said.

Instead of using county crews, Mr. Mercer is hoping someone will volunteer time - and equipment - for half a day.

"What we need is a front-end loader and a dump truck," said Mr. Mercer, who's already volunteered his pickup for the cleanup.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer can call Mr. Williams at 541-2283 or Mr. Mercer at 863-7262.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.