Some homeowners near Irmo are struggling to get two-month-old flood debris removed from a nearby creek.
Toppled trees and households items swept into Rawls Creek by the Oct. 4 storm have created dams that erode yards in the Coldstream area when it rains, the residents say.
Cleanup is too big a job for the residents to tackle themselves, according to some of the 100 homeowners who have signed a petition seeking Lexington County’s assistance.
“We just want somebody to help us,” Glenda Doucett said. “We shouldn’t have to worry every time it rains.”
County officials say they can’t help because the creek appears to be on private property.
Cleanup of damage on nonpublic land isn’t permissible, said County Council chairman Johnny Jeffcoat, who lives nearby. “We can’t go and do that on private property.”
Homeowners don’t accept the suggestion that the cleanup may wind up being their responsibility. They either want county workers to handle it or to find who is responsible and make them do it.
“We’re getting the run-around,” said Sara Jones, an organizer of the petition drive. “There’s no way we can move those trees.”
The confusion stems from uncertainty about who controls the creek, especially since the flood altered where it flows.
“We don’t know who owns what,” said Joanne Fineberg, co-president of the neighborhood homeowner association. “I’m getting different stories, and the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.”
The problem comes after a flash flood struck part of the hilly neighborhood with 1,000 homes during record rain, damaging several dozen residences.
Now, more homes are in danger as debris in the creek backs up water into yards every time it rains, residents say.
“I’m losing my yard,” Jones said. “It’s frightening.”
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483