Pond owner gets help


By Stan Welch

The Williamston woman who owns a dam recently declared unsafe by the state says she has a glimmer of hope, thanks to an article that ran last week in The Journal about her problem.

Ramona Wesley, of 20 Moorings Drive, received an order from DHEC’s department of Dams and Reservoir Safety on May 2. That letter informed her that the Department has conducted a survey and determined the dam that creates the ponds to be unsafe.

According to a copy of the correspondence, which the Journal obtained from the Town of Williamston via the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, DHEC “strongly recommends you to immediately perform such actions as necessary to safely and completely empty the reservoir formed by the subject dam.” (Emphasis by editor)

The order explains that the level of urgency for repairing any given dam is based on the potential for damage to property and potential loss of life in the event of total failure of the dam, and not on the actual condition of the dam.

The order goes on to say that in the event Wesley does not comply, the state may assume jurisdiction and perform the necessary actions “to provide protection of life and property, including the removal of the dam”. Once the actions were completed, the state would take whatever action necessary to recover the costs it incurred.

Luckily, area resident Wendell Ellison appeared at Wesley’s door this Tuesday and offered his services. “He just showed up and asked if I was the one with the dam problem. This is just amazing.” Wesley said he plans to draw the water down enough to determine the extent and the costs of the needed repairs.

“The problem is that we have beavers and they have burrowed into the dam. The water that was running off on to my property has been dammed by them now. Mr. Ellison said he thinks that the situation isn’t as bad as DHEC made it out to be, so I’m hopeful.” Wesley had been told that the repairs might cost as much as $30,000.

“I called DHEC and told them I had found someone to look at the dam. I hope that gets them off my back until we can see what we need to do. Thank you so much for running the article in the Journal. I don’t know what I would have done but Mr. Ellison found me and I think things will be alright now.”