SC officials discover dozens of unregulated dam failures

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Now here’s a report that should further emphasize the folly of privatized maintenance of storm water systems in general – that includes most ponds, dams, and roads. After all, engineering of roads is directly tied to proper storm drainage, too. Just ask anybody who has experienced standing water on the road after a heavy rainfall.

If the public is at risk for downstream flooding, and if the public is unable to use roads damaged by water run off (or causing run off if graded improperly), then there must be public – not private – oversight.

And you can also argue that there would need to be public funding rather than relying on private landowners and HOAs to fund their own maintenance and repair. The situation in South Carolina makes it abundantly clear that the public cannot rely upon private owners to even disclose the existence of dams, let alone provide proper maintenance.

The frustrating problem we have in the US right now is the general political attitude that government cannot be trusted to do anything right, that taxes must be reduced (or at least not increased) even if that means cutting essential services, and that somehow private organizations will do a better job at filling those service gaps at a lower cost.

For the past 3 decades or more, that’s been the primary excuse for local development planning commissions to push HOAs for all new construction or redevelopment.

And the irony is that while taxes might be reduced in one form (income tax), they are simply raised in another form (property tax or sales tax) to more than make up for the shortfall.

If you are one of the increasing number of Americans that owns property in an Association-Governed Residential Community, you are being (double) taxed with assessments on top of property taxes.

So we all pay more for less. And there’s very little true public service.

One other important issue that has not yet been addressed is the environmental contamination that often results from flooding. For example, what contaminants were in the water that spilled out from “hidden” farm ponds? High levels of fertilizers and pesticides? Animal waste from hog or poultry farms?

Most flood damage and environmental contamination could be prevented, if only Americans had the will to pay for proper construction, maintenance, and objective oversight of storm water infrastructure. And in the long run, it would reduce costs for taxpayers to prevent floods rather than clean up the mess after the fact.


Flood led to discovery of unknown dams in Columbia area

More dams crumbled and broke in the Columbia area than many people realized after historic October floods caused billions of dollars in property damage.

Since the Oct. 4 storm, engineers and public works employees have found at least 23 broken dams in Richland and Lexington counties that had not previously been identified by state regulators as having failed. Coupled with dams the state had already found, the additional discoveries bring to 45 the number of dams known to have breached in the two counties.

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