Dorchester Co. homeowners ask for safety regulations along retention ponds
DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Some Dorchester County community members are speaking out for better safety regulations around retention and stormwater management ponds in residential areas.
Several have taken to social media to suggest changes to prevent the chance of another dangerous incident.
“I can see if they don’t want to see a fence in their back or front yard,” Neighbor Michael Hayes said. “Let’s put some rocks, elevate it a little bit so there’s deterrents.”
The conversation was sparked by the death of a toddler after being found near a pond at the Cooper’s Ridge apartment complex.
“Breaks my heart. A gated community lost a child,” Neighbor Heather King said. “It is not something that needs to happen. Too many measures can be taken to prevent this.”
This incident happened on Sept. 8; The investigation is still ongoing.
It is also the second time a child has been pulled from a retention pond within the past two months.
A two-year-old was rushed to the hospital in July after being found face-down at a pond in the Central Commons neighborhood. He later died at the hospital.
“If that retention pond had been fenced in, had security cameras on it, something to alert here was activity going on, this could’ve been prevented,” King said.
SCDHEC claims the form of water management is an effective way to mitigate flooding and pollution for coastal communities, especially those dealing with constant growth and development.
However, there are no existing state-wide laws requiring safety measures around the shallow ponds.
Dorchester County Officials tell me most of the work is done and approved through individual HOA’s, developers or businesses.
“The apartment buildings and homeowners associations need to be held responsible and they need to take safety measures. Along with the parents,” King said.
The design for each pond can also vary depending on the location and situation.
This means some might constitute fencing, signs and surveillance, while others have nothing.
Some homeowners say they would like to see proactivity.
A few examples of solutions they had were natural or man-made barriers, elevated ground, gates with locks, security cameras, signs and more.
“Make the preventions instead of the reactions. I think a lot of people are reacting to the situation, not having a solution on how to fix it,” Hayes said.
Others want responsibility and transparency from officials to potentially save a life.
“Accountability. There needs to be accountability all the way around. There doesn’t need to be a gray area, there needs to be a set standard,” King said.
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