West Columbia Home Saved From 35 Foot Drop

11:25 PM, Oct 10, 2013   |    comments
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West Columbia, SC (WLTX) Imagine the threat of losing your home of 38 years.

"I raised my kids here, and when Bob and I got married we got married in the back yard and so we don't wanna leave, we don't wanna lose the house down the river," said West Columbia homeowner Sue Allen.

She and her husband first experienced a major problem after heavy rains and flooding four years ago, but people didn't take her concerns seriously.

"They said, you know, it won't ever happen again in your life time, and then four years later, it did," said Allen.

The storms and water runoff this summer eroded the ground just feet from her home, putting it in danger of falling down a 35 foot gully. That is when the decided to take action, with Allen's daughter sending letters to the media and elected officials.

"It was just like a domino effect, everybody started caring and pitching in, it was wonderful, it really is," said Allen.

Sidney Varn, West Columbia's Director of Planning and Engineering began to work on the problem with an engineer from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

He says when others realized the seriousness of the problem things started to come together.

"A lot of the regulatory authorities realized we had an emergency and they all came forward and helped us. I have never gotten a permit from the highway department in under three weeks and I had one in half a day," said Varn, who was recognized at a reception outside the Allen home for his work.

The city says the project, which took about a month to complete, cost about $222,000 with 75 percent coming from the NRCS and the city working to cover the rest.

Varn says with the new stabilization improvements the erosion will stop, and water will be diverted away from the home.

Allen says she could not be happier with the solution.

"You can't even imagine, I mean there is no way in your wildest dreams could you imagine what I felt and that's the truth," she said.


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