Potential disaster averted in Hartsville

September 20, 2018

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – A bright sunrise Wednesday morning signaled things would be returning to normal.

The euphoria from the post-aftermath of Hurricane Florence was a result of several reasons.

The Prestwood Lake level was slowing going down; Darlington County Schools would be back to class Thursday and cleanup efforts were ongoing around the city.

A press release from Sonoco heralded the good news: “Water levels on Prestwood Lake and the Black Creek in Hartsville continue to recede and there is no danger of the Sonoco’s dam in Hartsville overtopping.”

While perhaps not perceptible to the naked eye, water levels were well below previous levels, and water that once covered the Patrick Highway Bridge behind Sonoco was gone Wednesday morning.

“Based on current assessments, Sonoco believes there is no threat of additional flooding to the Hartsville area, and water levels on the Black Creek continue to lessen, which should help to mitigate the potential for further flooding downstream,” the release said.

Officials at Lake Robinson reported at midafternoon Wednesday that headwaters coming into the lake had dropped to 750 cubic feet per second while outflow at the dam was 1,010 cfs, well below the four-digit numbers from Tuesday.

The city of Hartsville came out ahead of the game, according to city officials.

“I think we did a great job controlling what we could control,” Hartsville City Manager Natalie Zeigler said. “I think we all were breathing a sigh of relief, and then the flooding situation came up.”

Zeigler said the city had a game plan going in and stuck to it.

“We were very prepared,” she said. “The chief (Jeff Burr) does a fantastic job with organizing us well before a storm. Didn’t see the major issues like we were out during the winds; did not see the major issues like we did during (Hurricane) Matthew.”

Zeigler said there were no remaining hot spots of concern as of midday Wednesday.

“They just sent me our Black Creek lift station, which was a major issue,” she said. “It controls our main sewer line to the treatment plant, and it’s back on line.”

At one point near the tail end of storm, a couple of manhole covers had effluent coming to the street level. The large influx of storm water in that area of North Fifth Street was isolated and contained. The city sent out a notice to avoid walking through water in the street.

“We were in contact with DHEC (Department of Environmental Control) during all of that. It’s very common that that happens during flooding situation,” she said.

Normal trash pickup will resume, Zeigler said, and she asked that people follow the normal procedures for yard waste.

Yard waste needs to be placed at the curb so sanitation workers can pick it up in the weeks to come. For information, see the Hartsville Sanitation app or visit the city’s Facebook page.

The city also urges the citizens to deal only with city licensed companies for any home repairs. They will have a yellow decal.

Report any suspicious or suspected scams to the local authorities. Anyone who has questions should call the Navigator at 843-383-3025.

Update hourly