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York County: Builders beware as hurricane approaches - again.

Hurricane Michael ‘an incredibly dangerous situation’, warns NHC director

The storm surge, wind and rain were some of the most dangerous threats to people in the Florida panhandle as Hurricane Michael was hours from landfall on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.
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The storm surge, wind and rain were some of the most dangerous threats to people in the Florida panhandle as Hurricane Michael was hours from landfall on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

York County is again asking builders to shore up their sites as heavy rains loom.

Wednesday forecasts showed up to 6 inches of rain coming to York, Lancaster and Chester counties Thursday as Hurricane Michael works its way through South Carolina. Heavy rains on construction sites can mean runoff, harming area streams, rivers and lakes.

“Remember you are responsible for any damage your site causes to others due to stormwater runoff regardless of it being the result of a hurricane,” the county said in a statement Wednesday to contractors, homeowners or anyone who has cleared building sites.

Sediment runoff from construction sites can clog local waterway and harm aquatic life by depositing chemicals or non-organic material, experts say.

The county is asking for immediate site inspections. Stormwater experts recommend property owners make sure:

All silt fences are properly installed and clear of silt build up.

All storm drains and channels are cleared and functional.

All swales and check dams are functional and cleared of previous silt build up.

All loose debris, fuel tanks and construction materials are secure.

Anyone with a stormwater basin on site should make sure:

All skimmers are unclogged and functional.

All slopes are stabilized with appropriate matting.

Slopes are properly tracked parallel to the basin floor.

Trash racks and riser vents are clear.

All emergency spillways are free of excess vegetation and debris.

Sites also should be inspected immediately after the storm, and any problems should be reported to York County Environmental Compliance at 803-909-7250.

County and environmental leaders put out the same call last month ahead of Hurricane Florence, which predicted up to 15 inches of rain over a few days. Few issues were reported compared to recent rain events that were less predictable than a hurricane.

As of mid-September, York County had issued 552 notices of violation for construction projects dating back the previous 24 months. There were 74 stop work orders for environmental compliance issues. Home and apartment sites in Lake Wylie, Fort Mill and other growing areas accounted for most of them. There were 49 fines.

A July spill in the Bonum Road area of Lake Wylie was one of the worst residents and environmental experts recall on the lake. Other reports of spilled sediment span from the lake to Indian Land, in most places where heavy construction is occurring.

This time last year there were more than 4,500 acres in the Fort Mill and Tega Cay in some stage of development or construction, among residential projects. Lake Wylie added another 2,400 acres. Those projects continue.

Stormwater retention features on building sites are designed to withstand a 100-year flood event, or about 5 inches of rain in a 24-hour span. The coming storm could bring more.

John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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