Hartsville mayor, council address recent stormwater drainage, flooding problems
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
It’s not a cure-all for Hartsville’s recent downtown flooding, but the city has a $200,000 plan to make things better, at least in the short term.
At a special meeting July 26, Hartsville City Council approved an ordinance authorizing the city to spend up to that amount for “stormwater mitigation” on Carolina Avenue, an initial step toward avoiding the type of flash floods that surprised city residents during intense storms July 8-10.
The project, the city says, includes “the installation of new catch basins and inlets along with additional piping to better store and convey the stormwater off the streets. The goal of this project, along with future improvements, is to alleviate flooding impacts on businesses.”
The city emphasizes that this won’t cost taxpayers more, and that no “stormwater fees” or taxes will be added. “The city is able to fund this project due to years of prudent budgeting and calculated spending,” officials said in a statement.
In a statement posted online, Hartsville Mayor Casey Hancock said, “We took a walking tour of several affected areas. We determined that the core problem was volume, precisely that parts of the stormwater system can’t move water quickly enough to keep up with such intense storms. While uncommon, such storms do happen and are happening even more often.
With SCDOT’s assistance, we are developing a plan of action for both the short-term and long. In the short term, we identified some remedial measures designed to move water out of our streets more quickly. Specifically, we plan to replace several aging drains and catch basins with newer ones with a higher capacity to drain and store stormwater, giving it more time to move through the system.”
He went on to say that, “On Wednesday, the City submitted a detailed plan to SCDOT for review to implement these short-term fixes. They will help us finalize our costs and ensure the design is up to current design standards before issuing us an encroachment permit to work on their infrastructure. We intend to complete these improvements quickly and with minimal impact on traffic and storefront access. In conjunction with utilizing the utility fund reserves, we are contacting local, state, and federal resources on funding assistance options. “
“I want to thank all the members of our staff and the public who responded to the storm and worked to prevent further damage. As we start the weekend, we are monitoring guidance from the National Weather Service, and our teams stand ready again to respond in case another storm event occurs. “
“All of this is to say that we recognize that we have a problem and are moving to address it. I’ve spent most of my time in service to Hartsville working with our small business community. I, the rest of our City Council, and our staff members care deeply about the small businesses that make Hartsville the great place it is. Small businesses create economic activity that keeps Hartsville ticking, attracts visitors to our beautiful City, and help define the very character of Hartsville. We will never accept what might be minimal or adequate for some because Hartsville deserves more than that.”
The Darlington County News & Press will keep you updated as this story develops.