Retention pond safety questioned after two recent drownings

In the last eight months, two people have drowned in retention ponds in Horry County

Just eight months ago, a woman's body was pulled from a pond in the Salters Grove subdivision of Garden City after drowning.

On Saturday,a 63-year-old man was pulled from a retention pond behind the Cypress Bay Golf Club. The coroner said he drowned too.

"It's scary. As a Mom, you think of the dangers of drowning. There needs to be some security measures taken," said Cypress Bay Golf Club resident Alex Cayea.

So we went to Horry County Public Works to find out what safety regulations are in place for retention ponds. We met with Horry County Storm Manager Tom Garigen.

"We've made changes and modifications but unfortunately you've got older systems and older ponds," Garigen explained.

In 2008, the county passed an ordinance requiring all retention ponds to have a more gradual slope, with only one foot of drop for every five feet of horizontal gain.

The ordinance also required that a no swimming sign be posted.

But Garigen said ponds built before 2008 aren't subject to those regulations. He added that retention ponds are not required to have fences. He explained they can do more harm than good.

"Kids are going to try to climb over that fence, Well when somebody tries to rescue that person that's climbed over that fence and now is stuck on the other side in a dangerous situation, they've fallen in the water, they can't get out and now who's going to come and rescue them," Garigen explained.

We also asked if there are any state laws for drowning prevention for retention ponds in South Carolina. As it turns out, there aren't any. It's up to individual counties to regulate them.