Construction projects are on hold in Columbia County. The sites are soaked from the rain this week and could be closed for a while.
Southeastern Development Associates spearheads most of the construction in Columbia County. NewsChannel 6 went to one of their construction sites and saw a lot of the land was flooded. It’s something that Southeastern says they can plan for but can’t predict.
Executive Vice President of Southeastern Real Estate Group, Matt Mills, says, “behind us right now is our Wrights Farm Residential Development, and where the ponds are today are where roads will be in the future. The ground is saturated and we’ve been stuck in the mud for literally about two weeks.”
The severity of the rain’s aftermath really depends on the soil. Sand usually dries out water quickly, but Columbia County has red clay which shuts the site down longer.
“Early on in a project, you want to be able to put your storm sewer in as quickly as possible cause that will help you drain your site. Here we have not been able to get the storm sewer in,” says Mills.
The rain came too soon for the storm sewer, but once all of the water dries up, and the pipe goes in, the water will flow to the detention pond to relieve the land.
Besides the sewer, the company hires a civil engineer for erosion control.
“The challenge is when you have high volumes of rain, a lot of times those erosion control measures, be it a silt fence or little temporary ponds can get washed out. So, we fight that a lot when we have a high volume of rain,” says Mills.
He says the Civil Engineers based this project on a 10-year storm. That means the probability of a flood is a 10% chance.
“The problem is we’ve had some 50-year storms here lately,” says Mills.
A 50-year storm means there’s about a 2% chance for flooding to occur, and that probability validated itself this week.
“We’re going to try to get it dried out as quickly as we can. A lot of times you’ll ditch it and try to get the water off the site so it can dry out. Wind certainly helps. Wind is probably the best means of drying up a site. So, hopefully it stays windy and dries up as quickly as possibly so we can get back to work,” says Mills.
Southeastern Development Associates is hoping that this sunshine stays because their timeline to be done with the property shown in the video is hopefully by August.