South Washington Co. residents’ floodwater declines just in time for Christmas

Washington County

CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) — JEA crews from Jacksonville have returned home for the holidays after pumping out four inches of floodwater that’s expected to go down even more.

The last few years have been a downhill battle with flooding for many South Washington County residents.

Nancy Haralson, a five-year resident of Pine Ridge Drive, said when JEA showed up last week, it felt like their prayers had been answered.

“I could’ve hugged them,” Haralson said. “I mean, I wanted to, but I was in the truck and I restrained.”

20 homes in the Pine Ridge Drive area are flooded and 20 to 25 more are at risk of flooding.

During the past week, JEA water and wastewater crews set up 3,300 feet of pipe to pump out water from the overflowing Piney Lake. So far, it’s sucked out four inches.

“We’re right on pace with where we thought we were last week when we set up,” Project Manager Assistant Steve Powell said.

The water from Piney Lake flows through the lengthy pipes and is emptied into what locals call ‘Cox Lake.’

From there, the water is pumped into one of Northwest Florida Water Management District’s sheds.

“You know, it’s always devastation when you come in initially, and then to see it kind of ease off and kind of get back to normalcy is very rewarding,” Powell said.

JEA crews are expected to go back to Chipley after the new year to check on progress.

By that time, they’re hoping water has gone down a foot to a foot and a half. JEA said they have been honored to help the neighboring community in Washington County during their time of need.

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