Recent heavy rains and floods across South Carolina that broke multiple dams and destroyed hundreds – if not thousands – of homes have turned a spotlight on the state’s dam safety program. Despite efforts overnight to stabilize the dam, emergency officials say it is beyond fix. Three people managed to get out safely but told emergency crews that two others did not.
The area most affected by floodwaters is the Forest Acres area of Columbia.
Law enforcement asks that everyone stay in their homes if possible, and have issued a curfew from midnight Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Local news outlets report that dump trucks were seen arriving at the Beaver Dam on Wednesday morning with about 400 tons of large rocks.
Crews from the South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. are pumping water out of the pond to relieve pressure on the dam.
“We had a steady flow of water that was affecting the sinkhole and making it bigger”, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said early Wednesday morning.
Columbia residents have had to boil water after dam breaks.
The rainstorm was blamed for at least 15 deaths in South Carolina, including nine people who drowned and six who were killed in weather-related auto crashes. But a few residents are still anxious about a second round of flooding from rivers swollen by the deluge.
“It’s not going to get any better”, Hawkins said.