City of Conway tests out new flood mitigation strategies

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The City of Conway is testing out new strategies that would help prevent flooding in the downtown area. The innovative strategy uses permeable pavement, a porous solution that allows water to drain through it.

“Hopefully that will affect future floods in the area by allowing the water to go into the ground in different spots rather than one collection place that could get backed up and then spill out into the street,” Allison Hardin, Director of Planning and Development for the City of Conway, said.

The pavement consists of a layer of recycled tire placed on top of stone. The tire allows water to filter through the ground at a slower rate than concrete.

“When water runs over concrete or asphalt, it has a very fast speed because there’s nothing hindering it. With a permeable pavement solution like PerkEpave, the water drips in and is spread out through the ground area,” she said.

According to Hardin, the city wants to show the community alternative means of controlling water, while also making sure they’re evaluating the best options for the community’s growth. For local resident and flood prevention advocate, April O’Leary, she appreciates the proactivity of the city.

“I think it’s really great that they’re being very proactive to try to mitigate the costs of these events, reducing the taxpayer’s monies, and then being willing to explore innovative products that they can implement in different parts of the city to see if it’s really getting the mitigation outcome and benefit that they’re hoping to achieve,” O’Leary said.

While the city has yet to receive its FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant to help with projects like these, Hardin said it’s small enough to be done with money they already have.

“We have some money in house, because this is not a very expensive solution,” Hardin said. “We want to make sure that it’s a good fit, but we don’t want to go all in on a project that may or may not be good for our environment.”

Right now, Laurel Street is the only place that has the permeable pavements installed. Hardin said when the next big storm hits, all eyes will be on that area to see how well it holds up.

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