HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX/AP) - WLOX Action Reporter AJ Giardina received calls from concerned residents wondering if all these new subdivisions are adding to drainage issues causing more flooding in their streets and into their homes.
Homeowners across South Mississippi have been dealing with flooding issues for years. Besides hurricanes, massive thunderstorms have brought epic rainfall, resulting in more and more residents experiencing the headaches of recovering from a flooded home.
Barbara Harris lives next to Magnolia Creek in Harrison County. When 11 inches of rain overwhelmed the Coast a few weeks ago, Harris watched floodwaters engulf her home up to three feet inside. She says Magnolia Creek has been unable to contain rushing water.
Harris said, "Now we're getting floods, and this has been the worst flood that I've had. My whole house is a disaster."
For years Magnolia Creek was able to contain rising waters, but in recent years, rising waters are now spilling over its banks.
In that same storm, Harris' neighbor, Michael Sefton, had his home flooded for the first time.
Sefton said, "I think a lot of it is from the subdivisions that have been built, not updating the infrastructure and the creeks that they're putting their wastewater or stormwater into it. I don't know if the answer is through permitting, raising the cost of permitting for these subdivisions so they have money to do this, or its through raising taxes on that."
Harrison County engineer Danny Boudreaux says flooding is only going to get worse.
Every time someone builds a driveway, a sidewalk, a shed, all contribute to more and more water running off the property, "Boudreaux said. "Sometimes I use the analogy of a swimming pool. Take a rock and put it into the swimming pool. It raises the water level. You really can't measure it. However over 20 years, you put a dump load of rocks in there, it's going to overflow."
Boudreaux says Harrison County has strict requirements and guidelines for new subdivisions and projects.
He said, "Typically everybody designs to a 25-year frequency. Well when you have a rain like we did previously, it's more than a 25-year storm. It'll help, but it's not going to fix the problem."
So, what can be done to alleviate flood waters?
Boudreaux said, "To fix the problem you need to do some major drainage projects because even the rivers and the creeks are too small for the development that we have on the Coast. We're looking at different sources of funding."
Boudreaux encourages anyone building a new home or buying a home to do their homework.
- Spend a little extra money on increasing the level of the foundation. Build the foundation higher or build a chain wall.
- Also, check the flood zones in the area where you want to build or a subdivision where you want to buy a home. You can see if there's a history of flooding in that area.
The bottom line... Boudreaux says it's going to take research and money to come up with drainage projects that will help combat the flooding, and he says that won't happen anytime soon.