'It sucks. It's disgusting. It's terrible': Floodwaters inundate New Hanover community

Updated: Jul. 31, 2018 at 2:49 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Drive into the Sago Bay community off Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington and you are forced to come to a complete stop as the road transforms from pavement to a river.

"It sucks. It's disgusting. It's terrible and now we are at the point of losing our homes if this is not taken care of," resident Bob Turner said. "If we should get a bad storm, we would lose our homes. The water has nowhere to go but up."

About a dozen homes in the community are inundated with water. Some areas of Sago Bay are covered with more than seven feet of floodwaters.

Lawns resemble lakes. Residents have waders and boots at the ready, many unable to even make it to their driveways.

"This started back in about 1998. The problem arose after Hurricane Floyd," said resident Charlie Powell. "There was an inadequate draining system, and it's failing. The pipe is not the right size."

Powell and others say they been alerting New Hanover County engineers to this problem for more than a decade.

"We have been promised for years this will be fixed," Turner said. "We recently heard it will be fixed in the spring and we wouldn't have to worry with it anymore."

On Tuesday, contractors were on site in a jon boat looking for a drain blockage, but residents say it's the onslaught of water trying to funnel through a 20-inch draining pipe that's the problem. They say the pipe is simply not big enough, and now many are losing life's basic necessities.

"We have lost our water. Our well is underwater," Turner said. "We are taking baths by jumping into the pool and soaping down and pouring cold water over us. I am afraid we could soon lose electricity."

Turner and Powell say they have been in touch with Jeremiah May with the county engineering department about the issue. WECT reached out to a county spokesperson on Tuesday and received this email in response to the ongoing problem:

I have spoken with New Hanover County Engineering and here is the latest update:

Engineering was on site at Sago Bay yesterday to investigate the situation, and has lined up a contractor to work on the blockage.  The contractor is on site today.  As Mr. Powell mentions Jerry May has been in touch with him and will continue to keep him apprised with updates.

Residents like Turner and Powell are concerned about hurricane season and what could happen to their homes with all the water already surrounding them.

"I am stuck, frustrated, tired of it, hate to lose my home," Powell said. "At points in time, I feel like just walking away. If a small storm came through, we would just be done, pretty much done at that point."

Powell's other concerns are mold, mildew and of course mosquitoes.

"The county came out here yesterday and surveyed the area, and they said the area is so huge they couldn't treat it unless they had a plane," Powell said.

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