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WTXL ABC 27 News

Leaders work to Thomasville fix flood problem

By Channing Frampton,


Flash flooding is nothing new for certain streets in Thomasville. High water disrupts business and traffic and can lead to issues downstream. Now, new money is flowing in from Washington, D.C. to help.

Sunny skies can darken quickly over the Rose City bringing heavy and swamping streets.

“When we get several inches of rain in a short period of time…the water pools pretty quickly,” explained Roger Hawkes. He owns Hubs & Hops on West Remington Avenue in Thomasville. He said he has seen how quickly the water can come up after a heavy rainstorm.

“We’ve had vehicles get stuck up to the door windows and things like that,” Hawkes added. “We’ve actually had to go down and help somebody get out of a vehicle.”

One recent flood event happened May 17, 2023.

“You can’t anticipate when you’re going to get a storm with two or three inches,” Hawkes said. “Everybody who lives in this area knows that can happen in an instant.”

Now, Georgia Senator, Jon Ossoff, says he’s working with city leaders to figure out a fix for the flooding. ABC 27 spoke with him one-on-one about the problem. “I’m always thinking about South Georgia,” Sen. Ossoff said.

Working together, Senators Ossoff and Raphael Warnock secured bipartisan support in congress to help the city implement Phase 1 of its wastewater master plan to address structural challenges worsened by Hurricane Michael in 2018.

“Thomasville City Leadership reached out to me and explained some of the challenges that the city faces with storm water management, the waste water system and water quality,” Sen. Ossoff added.

He said he worked to secure $1,200,000 for the project with bipartisan support in last year’s government funding package. The senator added, “when the storm water overwhelms the wastewater system, you also get downstream effects. That can mean that sewage flows into rivers and streams which then can impact health in communities downriver.”

We asked city leaders about the issue on West Remington. In an emailed statement, Thomasville’s Assistant City Manager Chris White said in part quote:

As part of the Oquina Creek Basin, this location was identified as one of several areas in need of stormwater modifications. During our storm water study, 23 similar locations were identified in a multi-year, capital improvement plan that addresses these issues collectively and holistically.

Now, the city is working on a large improvement project on its Wastewater Treatment Facility. A city spokesperson shared a news release that stated the project will be completed in two phases with a combined cost of over $8.5 million for the entire project .

While it’s not immediately clear what the solution for this drainage area will be, business owners and city leaders alike say they’re glad Thomasville is on Washington’s radar.

The old wastewater system was permitted to process 6.5 million gallons per day. According to the news release, it currently cannot effectively process more than about 4.5 million gallons.

Potential hurricanes, tropical storms and torrential rain can bring in 20 million gallons in a single event, which is why leaders are working to upgrade how much water their system can handle.

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