DHEC monitoring 73 at-risk dams statewide

VIDEO: DHEC monitoring 73 at-risk dams statewide

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/WIS) - South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control is carefully watching 73 at-risk dams statewide, with almost two thirds of them concentrated in the Midlands.

Some of them are in heavily populated areas.

All 73 dams are currently under emergency order by DHEC and are spread mainly across four sections of the state, including areas around Greenwood, Aiken and the Pee Dee. But the majority of dams under watch, a total of 49, are concentrated in the Midlands, and more than half of those are concentrated in Richland County.

DHEC roped all the dams under watch into three classifications: C-1, C-2 and C-3.

"C-1 dams are those dams that if they fail could cause a potential loss of life and damage to infrastructure," DHEC spokesman Robert Yannity said. "A C-2, if it fails, could cause damage to infrastructure. So those are the two classifications we're really concerned about."

C-3 is the lowest, meaning if that dam fails it could cause limited property damage.

Eleven of the 28 dams being monitored in Richland County have been classified as C-1.

Yannity is quick to point out there is no immediate threat to the public. DHEC has been monitoring and assessing dams, possibly weakened or breached by October's flood, for the past two weeks.

"We're doing our best to get out there, for everybody involved we know this has been a struggle," he said.

Gov. Nikki Haley said the agency is making progress.

"The dams we have now inspected are at 578," she said. "That number is going to continue and our goal is to have all regulated dams inspected by Oct. 25."

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