Army Corps of Engineers presents updates on Charleston flood risk study

Updated: Feb. 18, 2021 at 11:14 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston city leaders say they are looking to put together the best plan to prevent flooding in the city.

During a workshop on Thursday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented their optimized plan to city council to show them what they have been working on since receiving feedback on the Coastal Flood Risk Management Study back in April of last year.

Some of the plan refinements include changing the alignment of the perimeter storm wall that will encircle most of the peninsula, eliminating the offshore wave attenuator, and reducing the project’s initial cost.

The project will also be planned and built in four phases.

The next step for the army corps will be to conduct an environmental impact survey that will look at visual impacts, cultural impacts, and environmental justice.

The firm Waggonner & Ball, serving as the city’s consultants, took an independent look at perimeter protection around the peninsula and the army corps’ plan. They presented their findings in a report with observations and recommendations to city council.

While the army corps’ plan targets storm surge, the consultants advised city leaders to look at all the other challenges that contribute to flooding in the city.

“We’re using the input from Waggonner & Ball to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and work with our citizens and others and really try to get the best possible plan we can,” Charleston Chief Resilience Officer Mark Wilbert said. “We just have got to continue to work to make sure we’re getting the right wall for Charleston, the right system for Charleston.”

City council members say they will need to discuss putting together a comprehensive plan that will look at the needs of everyone in the city, not just people who live on the peninsula.

" I think what you heard today is that we need to integrate other challenges, storm water management, sea level rise, increasing tidal influx as well as storm surge,” Councilman Mike Seekings said. “The army corps project is just one of many things we’ve got to do.”

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