Homeowner concerned with neighborhood water runoff

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Buying a new home usually comes with guarantees. One of them is you would not expect your property to be flooded every time there’s a big rainstorm.

But that’s what a young mother of three in Sevier County is facing. The backyard of her “dream home” becomes a swamp after steady rainfall.

Jenny Witcher directed us behind her backyard to McCleary Road in Sevier County. She moved into this development with her three kids late last summer. About 18 months ago, the hill behind her house was farmland with no homes on it. Today, seven houses are on that property, a few of them are still under construction.

When it rains, water run-off from those homes flows into this ditch off McCleary Road. The water is then directed under the road emptying straight into her backyard.

“No resident in Sevier County should have to take on all the water from a new development coming in,” Witcher said. “Since the development started behind me, they have no engineering for the stormwater runoff and all of that water is being drained between me and the neighbors into our subdivision.”

Witcher says her three girls can rarely enjoy their backyard. Often, when they’re outside, the ground is saturated.

“Oh my goodness, it’s like a swamp, it is horrible,” she said. “And I have septic lines that run through my backyard and the side of my house. It is such a hazard with my septic lines and it is too much water being dumped on us.”

As a stopgap measure, Witcher put down sandbags and concrete blocks to slow the flow of water runoff, but it hasn’t worked.

“It rolls over it like nothing, the water is so powerful. It shoots right past it,” she said, adding that it goes right down the center of the backyard and into the street below them.

“They have installed culvert pipes under each driveway and I’m catching all the water running through from both directions and it is targeted to my lot,” she said. “I have gone to commissioner meetings. I have called the mayor’s office and they have no response.”

After filing a complaint with the state, the Department of Environment and Conservation directed her to the Sevier County Stormwater Management Department.

“I want them to stop construction on McCleary and address the stormwater issue and they need to take it to an engineer to fix the problem,” Witcher said.

Sevier County tells WATE 6 On Your Side that the stormwater management department is aware of the issue and has met with Witcher on her property.

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