Originally created 06/12/06

Culprit in flooding found



A Columbia County analysis completed earlier this month suggests flooding along William Few Parkway in Windmill Plantation could be worsened by the way the subdivision's driveways were set up.

At issue was a secondary spillway next to an existing ditch that was filled in about a decade ago by builders trying to level out driveways , said Billy Clayton, the county's waterworks director.

"When those builders built on those lots, one of the first things they did was fill in ... so that the driveway would be kind of straight coming off the road to the lot," Mr. Clayton said.

The result is that a heavy storm causes the water to back up instead of drain off, he said.

Richard Harmon, the county's Building and Commercial Services department director, said several builders would have been involved and probably didn't realize the long-term consequences.

"It's not one of those obvious drainage things," he said.

County officials say they might re- create that secondary spillway between the ditch along William Few to improve storm drainage.

That work would cost less than installing larger pipes in the existing ditch, something that could cost from $800,000 to $1 million.

"I've got lots of projects and no money," said Mr. Clayton. "I do know this. It (recreating the secondary spillway) would be something that could be done versus nothing being done."

Mr. Clayton said that although the county is not responsible for the ditch, pipes or driveways, it wants to help.

The idea of adding the depression area back near the ditch was recently presented at a county committee meeting and was favorably forwarded on by county commissioners.

The plan goes before the full board June 20.

Mark Schmidt, the president of the Windmill Property Owners Association, said he would need to see the latest plans before commenting.

He said he thought the county was planning to conduct a roughly $800,000 fix to the situation.

Mr. Clayton said he doesn't know exactly how much the latest project idea would cost, but it would be "way cheaper" than the previous $800,000 to $1 million idea, which would have involved increasing the size of pipes in the William Few ditch.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.

WHAT'S NEXT

The issue of flooding along William Few Parkway in Windmill Plantation subdivision will be addressed June 20 at a Columbia County Commissioners meeting at the Evans Government Center auditorium. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.