Floods are Mecklenburg County’s costliest natural disaster. What do we do to mitigate it?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – When heavy rain hits the greater Charlotte area, you’re likely to notice flooding.

Flooding is the county’s costliest natural disaster, according to John Wendel, who works for Mecklenburg County Stormwater Services.

Brandon Jones of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has set up four Litter Gitters – in-stream litter collection devices – to prevent litter from impacting water quality and causing more floods.

One is set up at Little Sugar Creek in Freedom Park.

“There’s a boom on each side connected to a pontoon cage that’s now completely overloaded with sticks and plastics,” Jones said.

He said the volunteers would clean it up before the next storm hits.

The Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary stream also tends to overflow, but the floodplain next to it has not always been there.

“Where we stand was the Doral Apartments,” Wendel said. “Across the creek were once the Cavalier Apartments. We were able to redeem these people. We had FEMA money and local money and we put it together.

According to a spokesperson for North Carolina Emergency Management, there was a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program award for the purchase of 13 homes in Mecklenburg, which amounted to approximately $8.6 million, under the Hurricane program. Florence HMGP. The NCEM Risk Mitigation Team is also working with Mecklenburg County on the elevation of four homes under the Dorian program and the redemption of one property under the 2021 Flood Mitigation Assistance grant.

Voluntarily keeping people out of flood risk is county’s strongest mitigation tool.

“That floodplain spreads that water out and slows it down,” he said. “It’s a natural infrastructure. The problem again is if you have houses in there.

The county also purchased 11 homes from owners on Riverside Drive, which is experiencing devastating flooding from Mountain Island Lake.

It also offers renovation options.

The owners who did not want to leave are refitted to raise them above ground level.

Floods will always happen, so he asks that if you see something, you say something.

“People see blockages before a storm, call 311. We’ll send a team to clear that blockage,” Wendel said.

Jones said there are things you can do yourself.

“You can put a rain barrel to collect water from your roof, you can use it for gardening and irrigation. You can disconnect these downspouts to disperse them out of your yard so they don’t flow directly into a storm drain. Things like that.”

County leaders also recommend getting flood insurance, which is separate from your homeowners insurance.

To find out your home’s level of flood risk, Click here.

Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.