Lake City takes steps toward solving storm drain issues


LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – Hard rains from historic flooding are uncovering problems with storm drain systems in Lake City.

The City of Lake City has a great deal of storm water maintenance and capital infrastructure needs.

“Lake City has never had a dedicated source of revenue to do any storm water maintenance or infrastructure,” said Lake City Administrator Shawn Bell.

These needs were highlighted even more by the historic statewide flooding during October 2015 and the heavy rainfall that occurred during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

Homeowners and business are taking extra steps to make sure their property doesn’t flood each year.

“I just try to do things on my own,” said Carver Street resident Barbara Johnson.

When it floods Johnson pays workers out of her own pockets to remove water from around her home.

“I get them to go under there and see if they can get some of the water from up underneath my house and stuff like that, I give them a couple dollars to do what they can do,” mentioned Johnson.

Flooding and sewer backups are becoming a growing problem for the city as its infrastructure ages and the frequency of intense weather events increases.

Businesses like Tequira Amber say they too have had their share of problems with standing water and the fix isn’t free.

“For right now we put sand outside,” said business owner Rosa Barrera.

Placing sand bags outside is one way to fix the flooding problem but Barrera says it eventually hurts business.

“Where the road comes low the water stays there for a long time and sometimes it comes in when it rains, you know it kind of affects customers who come in and say oh no it may not look good,” said Barrera.

City officials say the city received $1.2 million from Florence County’s penny sales tax to help with the city’s storm water problems but there is still a long way to go in resolving each need.

“It doesn’t affect just one socioeconomic class or the other I mean it’s both sides of the railroad tracks and it’s all over town,” Bell explained.

The price tag to fix streets in Lake City will cost a little more than $8 million. The projected cost would resolve known flooding problems on 8 streets, according to a memo prepared by the city.

The first street improvement will happen from Carver to Morris streets. City officials call this area high priority because it affected homes, businesses and several other parts of town.

Bell says the first project from Carver to Morris streets will be bid on next month and construction should start two to three months later.

During a council meeting this month city officials passed a resolution that will allow city staff to start getting proposals for establishing a storm water utility.

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