WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - Since Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the City of Whiteville has been experiencing flash flood issues.
On rainy days, parts of the downtown area typically collect a lot of water in a short period of time. This makes it hard to walk and drive in the area.
City Manager Darren Currie has lived in Columbus County his whole life and says the city has done more in the past two years to five this issue than ever before.
“What we found out overall is that we have a lot of issues with undersized piping,” said Currie. “The previous surface area downtown is unbelievable when you start assessing parking lots, streets, or downtown rooftops. All those things contribute to stormwater runoff.”
After extensive research, the city discovered seven projects to complete to fix the flash flooding issues. Two are done, but now they are waiting to hear back after applying for grants to fund the others. Until then, Currie said they are getting funding from residents and business owners through a tax that they imposed in 2019.
The city is also working on a plan to buyout 28 homes in the area of Vigil Street to West Main Street. In October 2019, state officials met with city staff to talk about the potential buyout of the flood prone area.
“Those homes have been flooded three, four, or five times,” said Currie. “We’re just trying to move those folks somewhere else, hopefully they’ll stay in the city, and find another place to live instead of living in an area where it sees repetitive flooding. That’ll help that are because they’ll have less impervious surface.”
Floodwaters have reached about seven-feet in that area during both Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The State Office of Resiliency and Recovery will administer the program.
Whiteville City Council is holding a special workshop meeting Tuesday to discuss the drainage plans and the buyout program.