Last week heavy rains hit southeast South Dakota causing extensive flooding in the area. On the morning of June 21, the National Weather Service reported 4.15-4.29 inches in Tea, SD in 24 hours. Rural areas reported even more, from 5 to 7 inches.
These record rainfalls created some impassible roads in the rural areas, flooded fields and issues for area home-owners.
Lynn Jorgensen, of rural Tea said that her rain gauge was full at seven inches, and the road near her home flooded with over a foot of water. She added that her sump pump was running every eight seconds.
Tom Stengrim, who has lived near 471st Ave. and 276th St. for the past six years said each flooding event is getting worse.
“What’s happened over time with each flooding event is that we’ve had less rain, but the water volume has increased,” Stengrim said.
He attributes the flooding to several factors. He said, “We’re in the Beaver Creek Water Shed, as the building has increased in Tea — every time they put in a parking lot and street — that water is captured and pushed out down stream. My point is, we had more water in our yard now than we did when we had nine inches.”
He has voiced his concern to LaValley Township, on which he served for several years, as well as to the Lincoln County Commissioners.
Stengrim said, “They say get an engineer and do a study, but who will implement a solution? When water flows on a private homeowners’ land there’s nothing that the government will do.”
Lincoln County Commissioner Jim Schmidt said the commissioners are aware of the drainage problems in the county.
It was at the March 2017 Lincoln County Drainage Board meeting that numerous Lincoln County landowners were present to discuss with the Board their concerns with drainage and flooding from Nine Mile Creek.
“We have listened on the Nine Mile Creek,” Schmidt said, “We have a contract with Clark Engineering to do studies to help the county make decisions as to how best help this issue. We have options — we could create drainage districts, they are an independent group that would assess themselves for whatever improvements they wish to make on whatever creek flows through their property.”
Finding a solution to drainage issues will be an ongoing effort for Lincoln County.
Schmidt said, “We understand this and are going to take those steps necessary to address this situation with the limited resources we have.”