IRMO, S.C. (WIS) - When it rains, it floods at Rawls Creek in Irmo.
Neighbors in the Friarsgate community have been dealing with flooded yards and homes since the historic 2015 floods, but experts say there could be a simple solution and they’re asking for your help.
The creek flows into the Saluda River, and since 2015, there have been debris and trash backups. Some trees have created dams, and when the area experiences heavy rain, there’s nowhere for the water to go.
“It fills up very quickly,” said Tom Mullikin, chairman of the South Carolina Floodwater Commission.
On one morning stroll along the creek, Mullikin and Blue Granite employees found old road signs, plastic bags, recycling bins, furniture, and even a BB gun.
“We’ve seen just about anything that could come out of someone’s carport or garage has floated right into these creeks and canals backed and them up, which is creating in large part flooding in neighborhoods around the state,” said Mullikin.
People who live along the river say they’ve gotten used to water in their yards, which sometimes backs up into the sewer system.
“There is no quick fix,” Mullikin explained. “We have allowed our natural water systems to clog now for decades.”
But he says there is a simple way to help. He’s teamed up with Blue Granite, which services Friarsgate, to lead a community clean up and restore the creek.
“It’s helped in other areas in the state where we have been involved, and we will see some immediate relief here,” said Mullikin.
Blue Granite says it got involved because the company is dedicated to providing quality service to its customers.
“If this can be addressed, you are addressing fewer issues that have to be done with the expansion of systems or additional systems that need to be done,” said Dave Wilson, a spokesman for the company.
The cleanup won’t just help control flooding. Mullikin notes that plastic bags are carcinogens, and removing hazardous materials from the creek can help protect you and your family.
“It’s a matter of creating healthcare problems that will be lasting,” he explained. “This will be our legacy; what we do today on these types of issues will be our legacy tomorrow.”
If you live in an area with continuous flooding, the Floodwater Commission encourages you to go to their website and let them know about it.
They are organizing water cleanup projects all over the state.