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County aims to resolve drainage woes
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Longstanding drainage problems for a subdivision could be remedied soon, if Effingham County commissioners agree Tuesday.

Commissioners are expected to vote on a contract and a notice to proceed for drainage improvements in Westwood Heights, after Division II Contracting was recommended as the bidder.

“That’s been an ongoing issue for some time,” temporary county administrator Toss Allen said of the neighborhood’s drainage woes.

Most of the problems are on Greene Drive and John Glenn Drive, and county staff used LIDAR topography and field observations. But Allen is worried that, based on the amount of study and the assumptions made, the house at the corner of Lord Effingham and Greene could be impacted.

“Mathematically, all of this works perfectly,” he said.

But the pipes, Allen said, are the same elevation as that house and are higher than his yard.

“This is a major issue,” he said.

The project called for the largest pipes possible on the Greene Drive ditches, and further analysis showed that the pipes could carry as much as 95 percent of annual rainfall events. Yet there are potential problems with the calculations. Capacity calculations assume the ditches and pipes are flowing full, but several houses are lower than the road. That results in water backing up into yards, rather than collecting and remaining in ditches.

“Every time we get a really hard rain, I get a call from three or four residents saying they’re pumping out their garages,” Commissioner Vera Jones said.

An outfall ditch leads to another ditch that is within a railroad’s right-of-way, and the county has no agreement to maintain that ditch.

Commissioners will vote on notice to proceed today to remove 24 concrete driveways to install new pipes, removal existing storm drainage pipes and install nearly 650 feet of new pipe.

“Something needs to be done,” Allen said.

The work is expected to cost $118,153, from the money coming from special purpose local option sales tax receipts.

Allen also recommended that more studies on the outfall be completed.

Commissioners will begin their meetings Tuesday at 4 p.m. with a workshop on the proposed timber cutting ordinance.