County ready to fix buildings that were damaged after sinkholes appeared

  • Friday, February 22, 2013

Christy Anderson/For The Times
Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway and Public Works Director Ray Funnye check out a sinkhole in 2011.

Damage to Georgetown County buildings that occurred shortly after sinkholes appeared in the City of Georgetown in October 2011 has still not been fixed.
The county filed an insurance claim with the State Insurance Reserve Fund in December 2011 for damage to the Judicial Center, the library, the county magistrate’s office, Department of Social Services and the building housing the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments.
County Administrator Sel Hemingway said the county and the insurance company decided to wait while a South Carolina Department of Transportation drainage project along Highway 17 was ongoing.
Although the drainage project is not finished, Hemingway said it was decided that work that could lead to more damage is completed.
The next step is to assess the damage and decide what repairs are needed and what the cost will be.
An investigation that was requested by the law offices of Anderson, Reynolds & Stephens of Charleston — representing the SCDOT— and conducted by F&ME Consultants of Columbia concluded that the drainage project was a major factor in seven sinkholes that formed in the city between July and November of 2011.
At one point during the project, 60,000 gallons of water per hour were being removed from the ground.
Five business owners and one homeowner have filed lawsuits because of damage related to the sinkholes. Named as defendants in the lawsuits were Davis & Floyd Engineering, Republic Contracting, S&ME Inc., the SCDOT, and the City of Georgetown.
Hemingway said the county is treating the damages to its buildings as “an insurance claim” and not “pointing the finger” at anyone.

.By Chris Sokoloski

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