Columbus Assessing Flood Damage

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "It is a nightmare. Everyday is a nightmare. The unrest for my wife and family is terrible."

Markus Hammonds is one of 19 Columbus residents whose homes were flooded on February 28th.

City officials say five businesses and 76 streets were also flooded when our area was doused with nearly 7 inches of rain.

In their assessment of the damage, officials say debris blocked many inlets and culverts.

"You don't need to put your lawn debris- your limbs, your grass clippings or any of that- does not need to go into the storm sewer system. It doesn't take a lot for it to get clogged and then that contributes to flooding in a heavy rainfall event," said City Engineer Donna Newman.

Officials say work on the city's infrastructure may need to be done but the city has already identified hot spots that have a history of flooding. Should another storm come our way, they'll get extra attention.

"Public Services will go out and check these areas and make sure they're clear of debris and make sure the storm sewer system is at its maximum capacity. And then they'll also go out to areas that are subject to flooding and set out barricades," Newman added.

Flood insurance is available to every property owner in Columbus including renters but for Markus Hammonds whose home has been ruined by flooding five times, that's not enough.

"Knowing that if it rains that those culverts will back up and I'm going to lose more property- something has to be done to correct this measure," Hammonds said.

City engineers say they are working with those affected business and homeowners to see what can be done to prevent flooding of this magnitude from happening again.

They plan to give a report with suggestions to council at their next work session.