City works to clear clogged storm drains

Responding to recent extreme rainfalls that flooded areas across the Lowcountry, Beaufort city leaders are working to clean out drain inlets and pipes in key locations.

Over the past 30 days, intense and dense rain storms have dropped several inches of rain in short periods of time on Beaufort, Savannah and Charleston, overwhelming drainage systems. The problem is made worse when the storms come at high tide, which limits the natural system’s ability to absorb the rainfall.

To combat the problem in Beaufort, the city contracted with Eadie’s Construction and Palmetto Construction to bring specialized equipment to clean stormwater drains and pipes, said Isiah Smalls, director of public works and facilities management for the city.

“We have always had problems with stormwater flooding when we get these extra-heavy rain falls,” Smalls said. “Most of our stormwater drainage was built and is owned and controlled by others such as the South Carolina DOT. Having said that, we are working at the worst locations to improve the drainage in the short term, and we’ll take a look at the bigger picture for more permanent solutions.”

During the drain and pipe cleaning process, motorists may experience some delays, Smalls said.

City officials encouraged residents to check drain grates in their neighborhoods and either sweep away accumulated debris or alert the city’s Public Works Department at 525-7054.

Further, residents and landscapers are reminded not to dump yard debris into roads where it can be washed into the drainage system. Spanish moss, leaves and grass clippings serve as clogs that bind to sand and dirt particles, creating drain and pipe blockages that have severely affected the stormwater drainage system in Beaufort, Smalls said.

There is no limit on the number of bags of normal yard debris that can be placed curbside by Beaufort residents. However, they must be sure that no bag weighs more than 50 pounds and that any bundled items, such as branches, don’t exceed four feet in length or 50 pounds.

Leaves and branch pickups are made once weekly in the city. If you don’t know your designated day for service, please call City of Beaufort Public Works at 843-525-7054, ext. 2, Waste Pro at 843-645-4100 or visit www.cityofbeaufort.org and click on Residents/City Services/Solid Waste to see the schedule.

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