DEEP CREEK, Fla. — Fox 4 continues to cover how during this rainy season many Southwest Florida county leaders continue reminding residents it's 'normal' to tolerate 3 days of standing water after heavy storms.
John Elias, Director of Charlotte County Public Works said the drainage system has been in place for over 70 years.
“Our whole area was designed by a developer in the 1950s and 1960s and that design was for the entire county," said Elias.
We asked Elias if the longstanding design is something they plan to address.
“We find that the system works. we don't have houses flooding,” said Elias.
Instead of a new system, Elias said focusing on new projects like removing an old rusted drain pipe in Deep Creek and replacing it with an open drainage ditch is where their focus is at.
“But essentially we will never, we can constantly have water in your swale if it rains every day, but we are trying to avoid flooding in houses, but we will probably never be able to change that 3-day, it's not a rule but we say it a 3-day rule because its an easy vernacular to use,” said Elias.
Elias said despite daily efforts, flood mitigation is a project he says county drainage crews cannot catch up on.
"They will average 400,000 square feet of swale re-grading a year and we have 4 or 5 crews that do that so you can do the math but again you couple that with the amount of infrastructure we have. we are never caught up," said Elias.
Elias told me, for homes that experience standing water for more than 3 days after a storm, like Dave Gilkison , who we met last month, will be investigated, and for some, like Gilkison, the county will work to fix it.
Although like Gilkison, Elias said since Gilkison's home never flooded, that's how Elias says the county grades if their drainage system designed at least seven decades ago is still working.
Elias told me in the 33 years he has worked for Public Works, he said flood waters have only damaged three homes.
If you do have standing water after the 3-day limit, Public Works does advise you to contact them by calling (941) 575-3600.