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People in Duplin County are getting sick and tired of flooding every time it rains

The North Carolina Department of Transportation say there’s not much to be done without going on to private properties.
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - People in Duplin County are trying to unclog major flooding problem.

After last week’s storm, several people, including Roy Horne of Warsaw, wrote in to WITN News complaining of major flooding problems from minor amounts of rain.

“We got about two a little over two inches, and we had to pump out our backyards,” said Horne. “At the neighbors’, it was covering the front yard.”

TONIGHT AT 5 & 6 — WITN-TV investigates complaints about major flooding from minor rain in Duplin County. I’ll tell you...

Posted by Liam Collins WITN on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

For at least 20 years, according to Horne, blockages in the drainage system along North Front Street in Warsaw, a state road, have made flooding problems worse and worse.

A letter obtained by WITN News sent by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to the town of Warsaw explains their investigation found the problem to be linked to a drain on a separate private property. The state’s investigation found the problem pipe too small for significant rain events and suggested that the property owners either remove or enlarge it.

An NCDOT representative explained there’s not much to be done unless the flooding was blocking a state road.

“Generally, whenever it becomes something on private property, it becomes a civil matter between property owners,” said Frankie Wood, an engineer for the NCDOT.

The town of Warsaw has paid $8,000 to upgrade pipes in the town, according to Town Manager Scott Summerlin, and has approached the property owner to try and fix the pipes to no avail.

“We are trying to do our part,” said Summerlin. “We know there’s more to be done, but we are trying.”

It’s a county-wide issue. In November, Leslee Thompson contacted WITN News while stuck inside of her home in Chinquapin because of flooding from the Northeast Cape Fear River. Since then, she said, she’s been trapped in her house on and off for a total of 15 days.

“The state or the county needs to come in and clean up that Northeast Cape Fear River,” Thompson told WITN Tuesday, while the floodwater was subsiding, but still higher than normal levels.

But the state told WITN News there’s nothing they can to prevent the severe flooding Thompson said happens too often.

It’s the same deal for Horne, who wants his problem fixed.

“Get this water away from the houses. Get them to fix the problem down there,” said Horne. “It’s ridiculous. I have to do this about every time it rains. I’m scared to death it’s going to mess the floors up.”

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