Stormwater is the rainfall that is not absorbed by the ground. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which either flows directly into surface waterways or is channeled into storm sewers, which eventually discharge to surface waters. It does not flow to a treatment plant.
Stormwater is of concern for two main issues: one related to the amount of rainfall and how quickly the rain comes (flood control and water supply) and the other related to potential contaminants that the water is carrying, i.e. water pollution.
Funding Infrastructure Maintenance with a Utility
Direct and Indirect Benefits
There are direct and indirect benefits from the stormwater program. Not everyone receives a direct benefit at their doorstep. The fee does not guarantee a direct service to your property but represents a collective effort to resolving issues and problems across the Town through a reasonable and timely process. We all receive an indirect benefit from the storm drain systems that provide safe roadways, protect our homes, and protect the environment.
No storm drains or flooding problems on your street? Bet your home has impervious surfaces such as the roof and the driveway that increase the amount of stormwater runoff and decrease the amount of natural environment that is available to absorb stormwater! Perhaps you travel to nearby shopping centers, walk on sidewalks or use bike lanes - these amenities also remove natural areas that once collected and filtered stormwater. The development of land creates stormwater runoff that needs to be managed.
The loss of these natural areas to impervious surfaces means that stormwater is not absorbed quickly enough in to the ground by the remaining areas. The increased amount of water flows above ground until it can be collected. This water needs to go somewhere and the systems that take it away need to be maintained. Every resident and business contributes to stormwater runoff because of the development of our property and the roads and businesses that we need and use in our everyday activities. Everyone may contribute pollution to the system as well, either from our homes and businesses or as we travel around the Town.
Flood damage costs are an expense for the entire community, not just the flooded resident or business. The Town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program and the Community Rating System to help keep the costs of flood insurance down for our residents. Through the performance of certain required activities the Town has been awarded a rating that gives our residents, who have flood insurance, the indirect benefit of up to a 20% reduction in the cost of their flood insurance.
Water QualityThe Clean Water Act of the 1970’s, requires that the Town implement programs to help improve water quality in our surrounding waterways. Funding will be required to implement new programs and conduct pollution reduction and protection activities. Much of the pollutants found locally are associated with our everyday activities. As we develop the area around us, we create more pollution and we stress our natural environment. These problems will be addressed and managed through a long-term program. Please visit our water quality pages for additional information!
NEW FLOOD MAPS - Effective January 2021
The new preliminary flood maps were produced through a partnership between Charleston County Government, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood maps improve over time as better flood hazard and risk data becomes available. In addition, flood risks change due to construction and development, environmental and floodplain changes, as well as other factors. Flood maps are updated periodically to address these changes. The finalized maps are available on the County's website.
By law, federally regulated or insured mortgage lenders require flood insurance on properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. Standard homeowners', business owners' and renters' insurance policies typically don’t cover flood damage, so flood insurance is an important consideration for everyone. Flood insurance policies can be purchased from any state licensed property and casualty insurance agent. Visit www.floodsmart.gov and review this Complete Guide to Flood Safety and Preparedness for more information about flood insurance and to locate a local agent.
For more information about flood zone determinations and flood insurance please contact the Building Inspection Division of the Planning and Development Department.
Because of our wet climate and high ground water tables, many of our drainage ditches and protected wetlands have water in them. However, these systems are generally not the source of mosquitoes that carry diseases.
Our ditch maintenance crew is working hard to make sure that the main canals are clear so that the water can flow. Many of our ditch systems are "flat" and we are not able to drain them. Wetlands are supposed to have water in them and we cannot drain them - but both systems usually have beneficial mosquito eating insects, frogs and fish populations! The mosquitoes that we are concerned about like to breed in small pockets of water in containers or debris around our homes. These breeding places do not have the natural predators to manage the mosquito population.