By Stan Welch
The condition of an earthen dam that helps to form a pond near Bigby Street has local and state officials concerned. The pond is one previously used for a pay to fish operation.
Mayor Mack Durham said that excessive runoff in the ditches along Bigby Street during the recent heavy rains led town workers to the pond, where water was escaping from the earthen dam.
David Rogers, of the Town’s public works department, contacted DHEC who visited the site. They then contacted Anderson County to determine if they had jurisdiction over the dam and its maintenance.
Ramona Wesley, whose family has owned the land for almost thirty years, says she has been given until the first week of June to drain the pond and repair it. “I have no idea how to do that sort of work. I’ve been looking for someone but I just can’t find anybody that does that kind of stuff.”
The pond is spring fed, so simply draining it won’t meet DHEC’s demands. Wesley says that the cost could be as high as $30,000. “I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard spot. We have a few regulars who still fish with us, but the pond surely doesn’t make that kind of money.”
Anderson County’s emergency preparedness director Taylor Jones asked county engineers to inspect the dam, and gathered the contact information for those whose homes were considered at risk in the event of a catastrophic failure.
Jones said that information was placed into the county’s emergency messaging system, meaning that those residents would receive almost immediate warning in the event of trouble. The county’s inspection reflected that significant property damage could result from a catastrophic failure of the dam.
Ms. Wesley said she was told that two houses, one on Bigby Street and one on Park Street could be destroyed if the dam failed completely. She said DHEC told her the dam might last twenty more years or it might not. “They said they just couldn’t take a chance.”
“I really don’t know what to do. I’m hoping someone will read this and offer a suggestion.”