Creek flooding plagues resident for years

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:15 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - For years, David Nelson has been grappling with flood water racing into his home.

“This is awful, it’s just awful,” he said.

He lays sandbags around his garage trying to protect what he can. They’ve become permanent fixtures in his driveway.

Nelson is fighting a force that flows nearby.

“It’s very hard on us to do that and I’m just very tired of it and we really need some help,” he said.

He lives along a small creek in the Twin Valley Estates Subdivision in Northern Wayne County. Since his home sits at the bottom of the subdivision, every time it rains, he bears the brunt of the flooding.

“We keep your app on our phone, and I sit there and I watch it like a hawk,” he tells WSAZ. “Every fifteen minutes. I can advance it an hour or two. Whenever I see red heading our way, oh my goodness what are we going to do. We go into battle mode.”

His family armors up the best they can and it’s still not enough. He’s already lost precious family heirlooms and had to replace the carpeting in his family room twice.

Always leaving him to foot the bill and wonder, who is responsible for the waterway?

“They just said that there’s really no owner of that,” he said. “I disagree, somebodies got to own it. Somebody has got to be responsible for it. We need help.”

Nelson has been in front of county commissioners, the public service district and even the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s been met with shrugged shoulders, no luck and no clear answers.

“Many, many, places that I thought would have responsibility for this and they all go, ‘you need to go there, you need to see this person, you need to see that person,’” he said.

That’s when he contacted WSAZ, hoping to track down who manages the creek.

“I reached out to you because I’ve seen you on TV many a time and I’ve seen the help you’ve given people and I thought why not, let’s give it a shot,” he told reporter Kelsey Souto.

We checked Nelson’s address on the WV Flood Plain Maps and learned his home isn’t listed in a flood plain. We then contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who says they’ve been working with the city of Huntington to try and alleviate some of the issues associated with Twelve Pole Creek.

In an e-mail to WSAZ they said “Our dams at Beech Fork Lake and East Lynn Lake allow us to help reduce flooding on Twelve Pole Creek (though of course we can only affect the rain that falls above the dam – we’re more limited in the water that falls below the dam).”

Nelson says the planning department has been in contact with him and is looking into the matter and trying to figure out what can be done.

He says he’s just looking forward to a day when the problems don’t flow into his home anymore.

“It may be just one, so who cares. I care, my wife cares and I’m sure our family cares about our health safety and wellbeing to prevent water from entering our home.”

A private contractor gave Nelson an estimate to clear the vegetation and make the creek bed wider and deeper as well as install rocks, estimating it would cost $17,000. Money he doesn’t have and he doesn’t feel he should have to shell out.

“I didn’t buy a home with my own private creek,” he said.

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