The Town of Sullivan’s owns undeveloped lands that provide an incredible service to its residents. Not only is the land beautiful and providing a home for birds, frogs and other wildlife, it also acts as a sponge for stormwater, allowing stormwater storage for flood overflow, and providing relief to residential parcels that flood.
Recently, the Town of Sullivan’s Island has disclosed troubling plans and has begun placing fill (dirt) on undeveloped parcels, such as the one adjacent to homes at the Station 16 beach path. In an unwritten agreement with the Town, developers are allowed to place unwanted (and untested for hazardous materials) dirt from construction on town property within the residential area, free of charge. The dirt is to be used to fill in low spots and low areas that pond or retain stormwater after rain events, on undeveloped Town property.
The lot next to the Station 16 beach path already has a mountain of dirt heaped up by developers with the Town’s blessings, and the Town is planning to regrade and spread it out over the entire lot.
Unfortunately, no stormwater impact study has been done by engineers, and no evaluation has been done to see how this will effect stormwater flooding in the drainage basin or in adjacent properties. Also, no impacts have been evaluated to birds, frogs and other wildlife that reside or visit the low area.
The most troubling aspect of this grading operation, is that many of the adjacent properties, that rely on the same stormwater discharge pipes, are already at capacity and frequently back up and cause flooding at nearby homes. The Town’s filling in of low spots with dirt will displace more stormwater, and will beyond a shadow of a doubt, have a negative impact and create additional flooding for islanders.
Please contact the Town of Sullivan’s Island representatives and let them know that we need help with flooding and this is a step in the wrong direction, and that low areas serve a greater cause to the community by mitigating stormwater impacts and flooding. We need rules in place to prevent our Town from filling in low areas, the same as we have for private development.
Joseph Church, PE,