Task force meets to discuss flooding in Marion County, cleanup day in Nichols

Nichols Stormwater Task Force

NICHOLS, SC (WMBF) - A local floodwater task force made up of Marion County officials met Wednesday morning to discuss the upcoming collaboration with South Carolina’s Floodwater Commission.

On June 15, the commission, along with volunteers from across the state, will clean and repair the drainage system in and around the town of Nichols.

But it’s not just Nichols, the task force is focusing on.

SCDOT District Engineer Administrator Kyle Berry said they’re also identifying and dredging canals and ditches across Marion County.

"A lot of it is maintenance and a lot of it is with the storms we’ve had, you’ve got a lot of debris that’s disrupting the flow so it’s mainly improving the system drainage and making sure we can manage the stormwater with what we have in place at this time,” Berry said.

"Prior to the floods it was a problem we were trying to address and now hopefully we can make it happen," Nichols Administrator Sandy Rogers said.

The town of Nichols was submerged under water in both Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

Rogers said she expects 400 to 500 volunteers, including the SC state guard on June 15.

Right now, crews are working to create pathways for volunteers to get to the canals.

"We can't stop 23 inches of rain from coming in, but we can do everything in our power to make it go out quicker," Rogers said.

Hydrologist engineer Hal Clarkson has been working with the town, gathering data to recreate the amount of flooding through computerized models. He’s then able to plug in potential solutions, like building levees or detention basins, that could help reduce flooding.

"The modeling just helps us determine the impact of those potential projects, which one would be more effective than others," Clarkson said.

Clarkson said part of the flooding simply has to do with the severity of the storms.

While flood insurance rate maps are designed around a 100-year storm, he estimated the recent ones to be 500 or 1000-year rain events.

"So part of the issue is just the amount of water that came down through those two events that we don't normally see," Clarkson said.

Once they come up with the best possible solution to reduce flooding, they'll begin the design phase, which requires funding. It’s another hurdle Rogers said the town faces.

"Hopefully there will be grants that we can get a hold of, hopefully there will be donations that come in and we are just taking it step by step as we everything," she said.

To sign up to volunteer on June 15 click here.

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