Creek erosion creates 35-foot cliff in W. Columbia neighborhood

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A West Columbia couple is living in fear that their Natchez Trail home is going to wash away as heavy rains have caused a nearby creek to wash over and create a 35-foot cliff in their front yard.

There's a stream that runs through the neighborhood. At times, the stream runs through pipes, but Sue Allen says sections of those pipes are too small.

"It's just hard to go to sleep at night," said Allen.

It's hard to sleep because the Allen's bedroom is now on the edge of the cliff.

Just a few feet separate the bricks and mortar from the boulders at the cliff's bottom.

"It's been like this for a month," said Allen.

That's when record rains sent water from this neighborhood creek washing over the road in front of the Allen's home, digging a dent in their landscape and causing flooding issues.

Allen says she knows exactly what caused the problem.

"It's the highway department," said Allen. "They need to make this culvert larger."

Allen says this creek normally flows fine except during heavy rains. The pipe backs up during the rains because it can't handle the water.

She knows the pipe's the problem, because the state Department of Transportation told her.

"This same thing happened, and they said it will never happen again in your life time, they being DOT," said Allen.

That was four years ago after a flood that cost them just over $10,000 to replace their front yard. This time, Allen says DOT should foot the bill.

"This wouldn't have happened if they'd done their part," said Allen. "If they would have fixed that, we wouldn't be having this interview right now."

SCDOT says they are now working with Lexington County and the city of West Columbia to "see what they can do." They argue that the drain has been in place since the late 70's and has only caused a problem twice to their knowledge.

"Every time I lay down at night, I'm not real sure I'm going to get up the next morning, and if I do, I may not have a house to go back into that night," said Allen.

SCDOT officials says while they are trying to figure out what they can do, they are monitoring this creek. For the Allen family, time is essential as the forecast continues to include strong chances for rain.

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