Despite constant flooding in Wake Forest neighborhood, town says it doesn’t have resources to fix it

Wake County News

A Wake Forest neighborhood is being inundated with floodwaters every time there is heavy rain, and the town says it’s not their problem.

About 25 years ago, drainage ditches along both sides of Wake Drive did their job adequately carrying away the runoff. Now, development has changed all that, and residents say the ditches are now creating floods in the neighborhood.

“Whenever we get a thunderstorm, whenever we get a couple of inches of rain — it’s a washout,” said Wake Drive homeowner Angela Giordano.

Runoff water from the ditch overflows into Giordano’s yard. It floods up to the front steps of her house and inundates the backyard because the landscape has been changed by development.

Back in 1997, when she bought her home, she said her backyard abutted a wooded area and a downhill slope carried the water away.

In recent years, the woods were removed to make way for homes. Developers also removed the hill.

“Everything’s been re-graded, so the water doesn’t flow down that way anymore,” said Giordano.

About a half dozen homes in the neighborhood are affected.

A time-lapse video from Elliot Walker’s house shows floodwaters during a storm cascading onto the front lawn and turning the house into an island in a sea of runoff water.

He’s said he’s spent over $15,000 installing drains and pipes to rectify the problem starting in 2018 with a four-inch pipe.

“We quickly realized that would not be adequate,” said Walker.

Another drain with an eight-inch pipe was installed in 2019.

“Even the new system was overwhelmed,” he said.

He estimates 6-8 inches of standing water accumulates from runoff during storms.

The town of Wake Forest says without a stormwater utility fee it doesn’t have the money to address the problem for anybody.

“When you invest in a new home you expect the town to take care of you, to do its due diligence and have sufficient draining,” said Walker.

Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia asked the town about this floodwater situation bothering the neighbors.

Environmental Engineering Manager Carrie Mitchell said, “The existing stormwater drainage path for the neighborhood goes through private property.”

Without an easement, Mitchell said it “Limits the town’s ability to perform maintenance.”

The town also told Sbraccia it’s trying to obtain funds for stormwater drainage assessments, but right now, there’s no timetable on that.

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