The City of Georgetown’s new $14 million drainage system completed earlier this year has lived up to expectations but — despite all the rain in recent weeks — has yet to really be tested, according to Mayor Jack Scoville.
The system, which has been in operation since May, has kept flooding from occurring in the areas it is supposed to, Scoville said.
“Every report I have received says it has worked like it should,” Scoville said.
However, even though the city saw more rain than normal this month, it has been spread over time. Scoville said the system is supposed to handle a rainfall amount of five inches per hour.
“It may be years before that happens,” Scoville said.
Georgetown Fire Chief Joey Tanner said before the drainage system fire trucks had to be placed at various locations along U.S. Highway 17, on Front Street and other areas to keep cars from driving into flooded streets during heavy rain events.
Since the drainage system has been in service, flooding has not been a problem in those areas, Tanner said.
Those areas “have been looking very good” during the recent rains, Tanner said. “It’s absolutely been a huge improvement.”
However, the system does not cover the entire city. Tanner said there is still some occasional flooding problems on Highway 17 near Butts Street, on some parts of Highmarket Street and in some areas of the West End.
Scoville said “add-ons” have to be constructed to the system to reach the other areas of the city. But that cost money and, he said, it’s unknown when City Council will begin discussion the expansion of the system.
To help with problems city-wide, two new employees are being hired whose job it will be to clean out the pipes and the drains in the city. Keeping the pipes and drains unclogged will do a lot to help flooding from taking place, Scoville said.
“We are trying to be more proactive and this is a pretty big step forward,” Scoville said.
By Scott Harper