U.S. Rep. Tom Rice visits flooded Horry County communities

Published: Feb. 20, 2020 at 5:43 PM EST
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SOCASTEE, S.C. (WMBF) - Amid growing frustrations from residents in communities along the Waccamaw River, U.S. Rep. Tom Rice made a visit to Horry County on Thursday.

“The Waccamaw has flooded periodically since I’ve lived here for the last 60 years and certainly we need to do more but I don’t know if you’re ever going to totally do away with the flooding,” Rice said.

River levels have increased all week, slowing seeping into communities that repeatedly face flooding, causing residents in the area to question what action leaders are taking to address flooding issues.

On Thursday, Rice said action is being taken.

“I think they’re doing a lot,” he said. “The governor put together the Flood Water Commission. We’ve got input from all over the state on projects that need to be done.”

Rice said the state received $157 million from the federal government last fall. He said the state has been gathering input across the state about what projects need to be done.

“We got $157 million in federal aid that is ready to be paid out and they just got to prioritize that money for the projects that affect the most people and the cheapest way possible because that money is not going to do all the projects," Rice said. “So, I think we’re working together really well.”

Rice said leaders will have meetings in Conway and Marion, Marlboro and Dillon counties on March 18 to start prioritizing where to spend the funds.

He said while $157 million sounds like a lot of money it will only cover a fraction of the needs.

“The problem with the Waccamaw is it’s so much water, it’s such a big floodplain, it’s such a big drainage area, it’s just really difficult to do much that effects that, you know, with any reasonable kind of money,” Rice said.

The congressman said he thinks buyouts will be the simplest and cheapest thing to do because of the topography of the area.

Rice encouraged any concerned residents to reach out to his office to find out meeting dates and available grants.

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