DHEC informs dam owners to make repairs - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

DHEC informs dam owners to make repairs

(Source: SC Department of Health) (Source: SC Department of Health)

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is demanding more than 70 dam owners around the state take action.

Two of those dams are in nearby Darlington County. One is the Joe Jeffords Pond Dam, the other is the Chapman Pond Dam.

Conor McCue went there to see how they are holding up, and what needs to be done.

The Chapman Pond Dam is no longer. The owner of the dam says water got so high it slowly wore away the damn and road over it. Now, that bit of land is completely gone, and the ponds are near empty.

“It was just more water than it can stand,” said David Atkinson, owner of the dam.  

Atkinson says he stood there as water overpowered what his grandparents built decades ago.

“It really wasn’t that violent a break as you would think it would be,” He said. “It just kind of washed away and the water came down.”

Now, just days later, DHEC says Atkinson needs to start fixing the dam.

In an emergency order, the department calls it a significant hazard, saying it is likely to damage a home, highway, or public utility.

Like the 75 other dam owners who got the letter, Atkinson is now being asked to lower the water level, or empty the dam to make repairs. 

Atkinsons says he was planning to repair it anyway.

“We’ll just build it back,” He said. “We’ll dig it back out and put a new core in right here and build the dam back.”

He says it will take several weeks to build back up the road and dam. It will take a few more after that to fill the pond back up.

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