Horry County stormwater ordinance updated in effort to lower chance of flooding

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Council approved changes to the stormwater ordinance that Storm Water Management said will aid in the fight against flooding during storms.

The new DHEC permit requirements are what called for a change in the ordinance. Dave Fuss, watershed planner with Horry County said the planning process to actually update the ordinance started in 2014, but the October storms in 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 delayed the process.

The updates to the ordinance will allow the Horry County area to not only fight flooding, but also keep water resources clean.

"Most people come to our area because they like the natural resources," said Fuss. "They like the beach, they like the river, they like to go outside and interact with our water resources. Making sure that those are in good shape, we have good water quality is obviously important in our tourism oriented area here."

The new revisions also require new housing developments to be built a certain way.

One of the changes requires all new homes to be built 18 inches above the road center line elevation. This way, even if the road floods the home will still be safe. New developments must also be designed to fully retain the runoff from 85 percent of storms that occur in an average year.

Stormwater rules like this didn't always exist, which is why some of the old developments that are not designed to retain water flood so easily.

"Unfortunately, when you've got existing homes already in place where they might be prone to flooding, there's nothing our ordinance can do," said Fuss, "But we are certainly addressing a lot of those concerns."

Fuss said Horry County Stormwater Management will continue to conduct studies and special projects to fix some errors of the past and prevent any more flooding in the future.

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