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Army Corps says dredging isn't solution for Socastee flooding

Bob Wallace is used to his front yard flooding, but he says it’s been happening too often. He’s one of many people in the Rosewood community looking for answers. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)

Bob Wallace knew what he was getting into when he bought his waterfront house in the Rosewood community.

At times, his yard had turned into an extension of the Intracoastal Waterway. But lately, he’s seen more of it and it's starting to wear him out.

“If we had good rain on the weekend, I’ll get [a few inches of water] in the backyard just as a matter of course anymore,” he said.

He and his neighbors are looking for anything to help. Some of them say the Intracoastal Waterway needs to be dredged.

“Whether we’re dredging there frequent or not, that’s not gonna directly impact the amount of flooding people see in their yards,” said Sean McBride, a spokesperson for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He said Thursday the waterway is at least 12 feet deep at all times for boating traffic. Digging deeper won’t help with flooding, he said. “Open water is connected to open water, so even if it’s a little bit deeper, it’s still gonna fill in to the same height.”

State Representative Heather Ammons Crawford said she’s been focused on dredging, among other options.

She’s hoping to get more of an evaluation from hydrologists and engineers to confirm the waterway doesn’t need dredging.

Aside from that, she’s been working to help buy back homes.

“There may be some communities that we have that need to be relocated,” she said. “What we thought was an anomaly perhaps is the new norm.”

Horry County Councilman Cam Crawford said council is looking at buyback programs for areas like Rosewood, using the resiliency plan, which could pair block grant money and FEMA money to buy at-risk homes for their whole value instead of 75 percent offered by FEMA.

“There’s quite a process involved in all of this and it’s certainly not something that can be done overnight,” he said.

Crawford did not say how long the process would take.

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