INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) - Residents in one Indian Trail neighborhood are pleading for help after putting up with years flooding that, residents say, is caused by a city-owned drainage ditch.
Neighbors who live along the 5100 block of Poplar Glen Dr. spent Tuesday night watching water rise in their backyards.
Chris Whitaker had water run through his garage and seep into his dining room.
"Last night, it was very bad," Whitaker said. "It was probably the worst we've seen in many years since we've been here. But this is a regular occurrence when it rains hard."
Whitaker's backyard is the meeting point for a ditch that carries water from a nearby development and a pipe that carries water from his street. When it rains hard like it did on Tuesday, Whitaker said, the ditch is overwhelmed and water goes everywhere.
"Basically, we sit and pray," Whitaker said his family does every time there's a heavy rain.
Down the street, Lana Elsby spent Wednesday morning surveying the piles of tree branches and debris that had floated into her backyard.
The ditch is deeper and wider in her backyard than it is in Whitaker's. That means more room for large debris to flow through. Elsby said that causes a problem when the debris hits her fence and the ditch narrows in her neighbor's backyard.
She estimates the damage to her fence and other parts of her yard to be in the hundreds of dollars from debris dragged in by flood waters over the years.
The problem has gotten so bad, she said, that she and her family are hoping to sell their house and move.
Elsby said the problem persists despite the fact that she has reached out to the Town of Indian Trail for help several times over the years.
One time, she said, a city employee came out but said there wasn't much that could be done.
Chris Whitaker, who lives down the street, said he signed a document when he moved in that said he could not make any modifications to the ditch. He wishes he hadn't signed that document now, he said, so that he could pay to have the ditch widened to accommodate additional storm water runoff.
The neighbors' problems persist despite the fact that each family pays a monthly storm water fee of between $3.54 and $4.24.
A town spokesman said nobody with the town was willing to answer questions about the ditch. He refused to answer questions about why nothing had been done to alleviate the residents' flooding problems.
Whitaker, who now has to pay to replace his damaged dining room floor, said the problem goes beyond the physical costs of making repairs and cleaning up every time there's a heavy rain.
"What you can't put a dollar value on is the sleepless nights when you get up and it's storming at 2 a.m. and you're watching the water rise wondering 'is today the day?'" he said.