Greenville residents of Terrace Gardens were shocked to find a sink hole at the intersection of Clover Street and Bermuda Drive on Monday.
“There’s an 18-inch storm cover at the intersection of Clover and Bermuda that we’re going to try and replace one day next week more than likely,” Public Works deputy director Ronnie Washington said. “We had a truck to come through and at about 6 o’clock Monday night, we got a call that it had collapsed.”
Washington said he and public works director Jermaine Thornton went to take a look and discovered it was the storm drain.
The failure is anticipated to take roughly a week and a half to repair, but it is also dependent upon the weather conditions.
With many of the residents already at the point of frustration with sewer and drainage issues, discovering a sink hole only exacerbated those frustrations.
Resident Sarah Ozbun has lived in two houses in West Terrace Gardens.
“At our old house, we experienced sewer issues every single time it rained. When we moved into our new house in 2017, we celebrated because we could actually flush our toilets when it rained,” she said.
The celebration didn’t last for long, Ozbun said, noting this isn’t their first issue with the new home.
“We have had two sewer issues in our current house — the first was when there was an issue with the sewer in the median outside the neighborhood. And now, the second problem we encountered was when the road collapsed,” she said.
Ozbun added it was just ironic timing and if the problem persists, they will reach out to the city.
Resident Katherine Boozer and Terrace Gardens Association President Gerard Mansour have been dealing with the brunt of sewer and drainage issues for decades now.
Boozer and husband moved into their home in 1998.
“After we got married and surveyed the yard, we ended up finding a sinkhole on the back property line and we called the city about it and they said, ‘Oh it’s probably just your piping.’”
She said they were advised to call a plumber and more than likely the issue would be resolved.
“Over time, it just seemed to get worse,” Boozer said. “We would literally just put rocks or plants around, it but it’s still there. It is 2020 and it is still there.”
Boozer said although she’s reached out and conveyed the issued to the city numerous times, a permanent solution has yet to be reached.
“When it rains, our toilets overflow or they backup and we’re not able to wash clothes, we’re not able to use the dishwasher, and we can’t drain the bathtub because the toilets will bubble,” she said, noting nor does anyone in her neighborhood know what avenue to take.
Boozer said eventually she was told the whole sewer system is old and starting to collapse and therefore it’s causing a lot of problems and will have to be replaced.
“I talked to neighbors and there’s a lot of people along this same line who are experiencing the same problem in that they can’t use any type of drainage system in their house when it’s raining,” she said, noting it only gets worst if it’s a heavy rain or a long lasting rain over a period of days.
Boozer and Mansour have both heard “rumors” or “rumblings” of funding possibly being available for such repairs to be addressed but neither resident could say it amounted to being more than just hearsay.
“For several years now, we have needed the sewer drain system and the storm drain system replaced in Terrace Gardens — that neighborhood was built in the sixties. We were told by a city council person that they had the money for it and Terrace Gardens was on top of the list and would be the first neighborhood that got repaired,” Mansour said.
Years have gone by since then and, to his disappointment, Mansour had not been able to ascertain any concrete knowledge of plans nor funds for the repairing of the drain systems.
However, he said he is hopeful because he would like to see Greenville and its neighborhoods flourish.
“What goes through my mind is this, ‘We’re trying to promote our neighborhood and keep it up so that it would still be known as one of the best neighborhoods in Greenville,’” he said.