Savannah city council will vote on stormwater fund

Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 5:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Clean-up continues in several neighborhoods on Savannah’s east side after Monday’s flooding.

Storms caused several streets to fill with water during the evening rush hour. In some areas, the water rose to people’s doorsteps.

Neighbors at East 33rd and Grove streets said, 24 hours ago, these roads were filled with water - even causing some cars to get stuck.

Now, ahead of next week’s Savannah city council meeting, one alderman says a crucial vote is coming up that could help fix flooding problems in neighborhoods like this.

“It’s not something we were expecting, to say the least. We haven’t seen it like that since the last hurricane,” Emily Evans said.

From 37th Street to Habersham Village, drivers navigated flooded roads as many homeowners watched the water rise to as close as their doorstep in some spots.

“It rose in probably 20 minutes. It was super, super quick. The water just doubled up so fast,” Evans said.

The flooding comes as Savannah’s District 4 Alderman, Nick Palumbo, said city council is expected to vote on whether to create a storm water fund at next week’s meeting.

“With our coastal position, and especially with flooding events like we experienced just yesterday, we absolutely need to improve existing neighborhoods and communities that are here,” Palumbo said.

Palumbo says the fund would be used to update pipes in already existing communities.

He says some of Monday’s flooding didn’t even happen in the areas with the most deficient stormwater infrastructure. Palumbo says the city manager has identified some of those areas to be Hayners Creek, Liberty City and Springfield Canal.

Tax dollars would help pay for the fund, according to Palumbo.

“Newer developments have much higher standards, so they’ve got bigger infrastructure and the bigger pipes. This is to help the existing neighborhoods, existing communities. We still have subterranean infrastructure from the 1700′s that we’re operating with,” Palumbo said.

Despite the vote’s outcome, city residents are hoping to avoid more flooding events.

“With the sheer amount of water, it is definitely a possibility that it could happen again,” Evans said.

Palumbo says that vote on the stormwater fund is set for the city council meeting next Thursday at 6:30 p.m.