Flooding and Drainage Concerns

Managing Stormwater

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 into 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 contribute 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.

Stormwater Infrastructure

When it rains, street drains, ditches, and wetland channels help keep Town neighborhoods from flooding. When leaves collect in gutters and block these drains, water can back up and cause ponding. While autumn is when leaves are most likely to collect in drains, it can happen at any time of the year.

Residents can help prevent flooding by paying attention to what’s happening with the drains on their streets and neighborhoods.

How to Report a Flooding or Drainage Concern

To report a minor flooding or drainage concern, an illicit discharge, or other drainage related request, please contact the Town via SeeClickFix or call the Town of Bluffton at (843) 706-4500.

Tips to Minimize Drainage Problems:

Residents can take individual actions to help reduce the risk of flooding and drainage problems. 

  • Keep Leaves and Debris Out of Drains:
    • Keep ditches, storm drainage inlets and curb and gutter along streets free and clear of debris, such as leaves and yard waste. Debris can clog storm drainage infrastructure and cause flooding.
  • Maintain Your Gutters and Downspouts:
    • Clean the gutters and drainage downspouts attached to your roof twice a year. Just one (1) wind or rainstorm can clog a well-flowing drainage system.
    • Inspect for leaks or damage to rain gutters that could cause a flat roof to flood. 
    • Direct flows from downspouts away from your foundation, without discharging flows to adjacent properties.
  • Absorb the Storm:
    • Increase infiltration with a healthy lawn by testing your soil to fertilize correctly and keep your grass height around three (3) inches.
    • Provide healthy urban trees by planting native trees and shrubs. Natives are recommended because they tend to be more resilient and will promote a healthy ecosystem. 
    • Collect and conserve rainwater in rain barrels. 
    • Capture and absorb water in a rain garden. To learn more about installing a rain garden, visit Carolina Clear’s Rain Garden Initiative
  • Respect Right-of-Way Drainage Systems:
    • Don’t put grass clippings, leaves, or other debris into any of the drains, ditches, coves, or culverts along roadways.
  • Only Rain Goes Down the Drain: 
    • If something other than stormwater is running through a ditch or going down a storm drain, notify the Town of Bluffton through SeeClickFix or call the Town at (843) 706-4500. In case of an emergency, always dial 911

Flood Safety

There are several actions residents can take to decrease the potential of injury due to flooding:

  • Do not walk through flowing water.
  • Avoid driving through a flooded area. 
  • Keep children away from flood waters, ditches, culverts, and storm drains.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and other electrical wires.
  • Look out for animals, especially snakes.
  • For major storms like hurricanes, know the storm warning systems and monitor local television and radio broadcasts for updates as a storm approaches. If you are advised to evacuate, do so promptly. The Town of Bluffton’s Police Department will always provide local hurricane information via the: 
    • My Police Department smartphone application available for download here; and
    • Bluffton Police Department’s Facebook and Twitter pages
  • In case of an emergency, always dial 911.