Homeowners fed up with flooding along Spencer Creek
Frustrations come as Wilson County and the Army Corps of Engineers recently announced a watershed study that’s expected to take two years.
LEBANON, Tenn. (WSMV) - People living along Spencer Creek near Lebanon say they’re fed up with repeated flooding, and they want solutions sooner rather than later.
“There’s been many sleepless nights where we’ve been watching the floodwaters and not being able to do anything about it,” Kenny Estes said.
Estes and his neighbors believe they’re experiencing what WSMV4 Investigates has revealed over the last several years: a combination of increased development paving over land that used to absorb more water, along with infrastructure failing to deal with increasingly intense rainstorms. This combination has led to more flooding issues.
“We’re just the catch-all for everybody,” neighbor Amy Lane said. “And we’re tired of it.”
It’s gotten so bad that Estes, and his neighbor Billy Jones, built berms to protect their homes from floodwaters, even though it makes some of their land unusable.
Homeowners’ frustrations come as Wilson County and the Army Corps of Engineers recently announced a watershed study that’s expected to take two years.
“There hasn’t been a detailed study of this stream before,” says Ashley Fuentes with the Army Corps of Engineers.
The study aims to figure out how much water flows through the creek, and if there are places, like openings under bridges, that can’t accommodate increased water during a storm.
Neighbors say one of the problematic areas is the debris piling up under a bridge on Northern Road near Highway 109.
“They have never cleaned it out,” Jones said. “They say it wasn’t their job.”
WSMV4 Investigates previously exposed issues with clearing debris from creeks after the deadly flash flooding in Waverly in 2021. A lawsuit claims uncleared debris from Trace Creek clogged a culvert that was ultimately responsible for the water backing up like a lake. It claims the waters then broke through raised land that acted as a levy, and road towards the town like a tidal wave. Nearly two dozen people died.
Neighbors along Spencer Creek say they won’t wait for that to happen to them.
“We’ve come down here before and just kind of cut them,” Estes said. “Just try to alleviate some of the pressure off of it and to keep it from backing up on us.”
The Army Corps says the analysis of their data will help local leaders make decisions about long-term solutions to flooding. However, it won’t be completed until the Spring of 2025.
“I’m 80 years old,” Jones said. “I’ll be dead and gone before they get to it.”
The study is ongoing. and the Army Corps is asking for people living along the creek to provide any documentation, like home videos and pictures of flooding, to help them determine patterns of how the water flows.
The Corps said people can send documentation to the Wilson County Planning Office.
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