New stormwater infrastructure upgrades coming to Clayton after decades of severe flooding problems

U.S. Sen, Jon Ossoff of Georgia with several homeowners impacted by years of flooding in Clayton County. (DorMiya Vance/WABE).

State and county officials joined Monday to introduce new infrastructure upgrades for Clayton County. The county has had an ongoing problem with severe flooding and runoff for several years.

Clayton residents say it’s been a struggle each time storms hit. Barbara Lumpkin lives in the area and says the issues have lasted at least 20 years. 

“Every time it rains, rains hard, you know, I’m like, ‘Oh God, am I gonna have to deal with this flooding again,” Lumpkin said. “…it was to the point I was ready to just sell the house.”

The new upgrades will improve several issues within the county’s neighborhoods, like reducing the number of flooding incidents and managing runoff from other areas.

U.S. Sen, Jon Ossoff of Georgia spoke Monday. He says money from the 2021 federal bipartisan infrastructure law will fund the improvements. 

“You’re going to see tributaries of the watershed drainage infrastructure, as well as wetland restoration, all part of this project,” Ossoff said. “…this [flooding] is forcing homeowners into financial distress. This is creating hazards to public health and public safety. This is a big deal.” 

Landry Merkison is the deputy chief operating officer with Clayton County. He says the new infrastructure will also help lessen the load on emergency services when dealing with storm-related events. 

“Our law enforcement officials are not tied up by having to block roadways that are now flooded due to aging and old and collapsing infrastructure,” Merkison said. “So by being able to bring these funds [and] correct these issues, we free up those resources to be able to answer the other emergency calls that come in during storms.”

Ossoff is allocating $2.6 million for resources to help complete the project.