Floods, rain expose SC’s flawed dam safety program

By Sammy Fretwell, The State and John Monk, The State.


  • Six Richland County dams broke, causing death and destruction in floods
  • DHEC, in charge of dam safety, declines to comment Tuesday
  • Not even a warning system in place

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.

South Carolina has for years had one of the nation’s weakest dam safety programs, consistently ranking near the bottom of rankings in federal and state government reports.

In 2013, the state spent less than $200,000 on its dam safety program, employing a handful of people devoted specifically to inspecting and regulating the structures. That’s roughly the same amount the state spent on the program in 2010, when a national report rated South Carolina 45th nationally in financial resources committed to dam safety.

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