Amy McIntosh is the managing editor of Storm Water Solutions. McIntosh can be reached at [email protected]
Oct 05, 2016

Taking Ownership

Earlier this week, NPR reported on the one-year anniversary of floods that caused destruction across much of South Carolina. Today, some of the roads and dams damaged or destroyed by the flood have not been repaired, leaving some to wonder who is responsible.

The roads cannot be fixed until the dams beneath them are rebuilt. Private citizens own many of the state’s 2,500 dams, and the owners must decide whether to rebuild or abandon them. Many owners have opted not to fix the dams, and in some instances residents have filed lawsuits against the dam owners. But the cost of repairing the dams may be too high for some. 

A national program for funding dam repairs does not exist, and according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials website, “South Carolina does not have a funding program to assist dam owners with repair, abandonment, or removal of dams.” Repairs can cost upwards of $100,000, money many private citizens do not have readily available. This result: a year of closed roads scattered throughout the state and drivers continuing to search for alternate routes to their destinations. 

Do you think the state should help dam owners pay for repairs in order to further reconstruction efforts? How is dam ownership handled in your state? Let us know in the comments or at [email protected].