US Army Corps of Engineers
Charleston District

Assisting Georgetown and Pawleys Island

Published Dec. 12, 2018
Pawleys Island Pump Station

Pawleys Island Pump Station was protected by HECO barriers and sandbags during the flood fight after Hurricane Florence.

Georgetown County had an agonizing wait for the flood waters headed their way after Hurricane Florence.

“A lot of the country thinks Florence came and went,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “But unfortunately for this much water, it will take weeks for it to process down.”

Eleven trillion gallons of water were dumped on the Carolinas, much of which drained down six major rivers in South Carolina over the course of two weeks, so Georgetown County needed to prepare for the aftermath of this terrible storm.

The state’s third-oldest city, Georgetown, along with nearby Pawleys Island, requested the state’s aid to help prepare. The state asked the Charleston District to help come up with a plan, after Gov. Henry McMaster called the situation “unprecedented.”

The South Carolina Department of Transportation, the South Carolina Army National Guard and the Corps partnered together to help keep a portion of U.S. Highway 17 from becoming inundated and cutting off yet another major road near the Grand Strand and to protect a critical pump station and a hospital.

It was decided that SCDOT’s water filled barriers, also known as aqua dams, would be used on U.S. Highway 17 along the low lying section of the road near the Georgetown Marina since they were readily available. Sandbags provided by the Corps were strategically positioned with the aqua dams as an extra layer of protection.

The District provided 300 linear feet of Hesco barriers that was used around the Pawleys Island pump station that supplies island residents with clean water. If the pump station became disabled, residents could potentially have run out of clean water within one to two days.

Another critical asset to the area was the Georgetown Memorial Hospital. If the data center and HVAC plant were impacted by flood waters, the hospital could have been in danger of closing, leaving no major medical center for residents. Hesco barriers and sandbags were used and the SCANG worked around the clock to get them in place.

Additionally, the Louisville District’s hydraulic sandbag machine filled countless sandbags for the state and county officials to use. They in turn distributed them to residents and business to use to protect their property.

The District was honored to be able to help Georgetown County respond to this natural disaster. Flood fighting subject matter experts from around the country, plus relationships with the local, county and state agencies enabled the District to successfully deliver the response mission to the citizens of this area.