Sumner officials trying to fix flooding issues - WSMV News 4

Sumner officials trying to fix flooding issues

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County officials aren't allowed to clear debris from creeks unless it is near bridges. (WSMV) County officials aren't allowed to clear debris from creeks unless it is near bridges. (WSMV)

Sumner County officials are working to find a way to fix the area's problems with flooding, and they believe several factors could be to blame, including new development.

School buses stranded on washed out roads and backyards-turned-rivers were just the latest signs of Sumner County's flooding problem

"It seems to be happening a little bit more often. It seems like if we just have a hard rain, the greenway will flood," said Carrie Melvin, a homeowner.

Melvin lives near Station Camp Creek and recorded video of her yard when storms rolled through the area in May. She worries what may happen the next time.

"If it had kept going for at least another 20 to 30 minutes, it definitely would have been in our backyard," said Melvin.

Summer County Executive Anthony Holt said decades of debris clog the creeks. When asked about what the county can do to clear the creeks and whether workers are allowed, Holt said the county isn't allowed to clean everywhere along the creeks and streams.

"We're only allowed to clean them out right where the bridges are," said Holt, adding that the county will need a permit from the state to expand their cleaning area.

Holt said new home developments are also not helping the flooding problem.

"Anytime you take a green field and you put a road, a sidewalk, a house with a surface like a roof, then it attributes to water runoff," said Holt. He explained old housing developments also have culverts and water runoff systems that cannot handle the water backup from heavy rains, adding to flooding problems.

Holt said they can't fight nature, but they can try to lessen the impact and hope things won't get as bad as it did in May.

"We had one fatality, and that's one too many," said Holt.

County officials said they work with developers to try and make sure new houses have a good path for water runoff. Holt said he met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation last week to discuss solutions and the possibility of a study. He said the county plans to meet again with the state and federal agencies later this year to develop a plan.

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