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City adopts storm water ordinance

James Peavey is a devout weather watcher, and not because he's a budding meteorologist. Peavey watches the sky because he worries whether he'll have his house flooded by storm water runoff.

"Over the years they've gradually changed things, and I get more water down here," said Peavey, who's lived on Stanfield Drive since building his house in 1945. "The water has gradually increased coming down through here. I've been battling the city about this for years."

As Greenville has grown, Peavey, like many other longtime residents, is feeling the effects of increased storm water runoff through their property. Whenever a new house or road is built, the direction of the storm water runoff changes, and that can be bad news for existing homeowners. It overloads existing drainage pipes and the water ends up, sometimes, in people's houses.

The city is now taking action to remedy future occurrences of that problem. Monday night they enacted an ordinance that calls for developers to submit a drainage plan that shows how storm water runoff will be handled, and the developer must provide drainage facilities within the subdivision to an off-premises, natural drainage channel.

"Through the years as developments are made, we're dumping more water, and now it exceeds our pipe size," said city inspector Eddie Anderson, who, according to Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, has been stumping for the storm water ordinance for some time. "In the past when somebody put in a development, there was no thought given to where the water would go. That's what's causing the problems in these areas. It's not the water that's falling in that immediate area; it's an accumulation of what is falling all over town.

The ordinance also calls for developers to install storm sewers and side drains to handle the storm water.

That's good for new developments, but Peavey says that won't help him, although he may finally be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. After several years of discussions with the city, Peavey says Anderson has told him the city plans to dig up an existing 24-inch pipe they laid in the 1950's and replace it with a bigger pipe to handle the large volume of water that runs like a river down Stanfield Drive.

"They said they were going to put it in the budget for next year and do whatever is necessary to fix the problem," he said. "I've complained to the city numerous times and they've had people come look at it, but it looks like the only solution for me is to dig up the pipe and put a bigger pipe in."

Anderson said the city is working with their engineering firm to determine the costs. Once that is done, he said they'll see if it can be put in the budget.

Peavey is hopeful that will happen, and says the new ordinance should help people from having similar problems in the future.

"If they'd had some regulations on that years ago, we wouldn't be having the problem we're having now."