Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I sent the following to Shannon Hicks, PE, at DHEC-OCRM, after MONTHS of frustration in trying to deal with OCRM during the Phase 5 Lagoon fiasco here:

"Most organizations begin with a mission statement. Then the organization is built around accomplishing the mission. Periodically, most organizations compare results with their mission statement to determine whether or not adjustments in the organization need to be made.

It should be very apparent to you and your bosses that DHEC-OCRM failed to accomplish its mission at Sun City Hilton Head. DHEC-OCRM failed to protect the environment and valuable ocean and coastal resources. The as-builts and the Jan. 22 meeting at SCHH prove that. Never in my 40+ years as an engineer have I seen, or frankly would have believed, errors of one and two feet in elevation in such a flat area. It’s appalling.

Also, in my 40+ years in practicing engineering, never have I seen a public agency with responsibility for the environment be so lax in their requirements. Not to require embankments on SWM ponds, not to require that ponds be sufficiently deep for water quality treatment (which requires depth), not to require materials and workmanship for control structures such that they won’t leak, not to require that soil in embankments be compacted, not to require that embankments be clear of trees, not to require freeboard, not to require that pipes connecting ponds, that are vital to the operation of the system, be cleared of silt, not to require fences where steep slopes present a safety hazard, etc. are equally appalling. It is unlike anything that I’ve seen in 40+ years.

Needless to say, to provide “guidance” is quite different than to “control” or to “manage”. Perhaps DHEC-OCRM should change its name to DHEG-OCRG, Department of Health and Environmental Guidance, Ocean and Coastal Resource Guidance. One thing for sure, DHEC-OCRM’s “guidance” isn’t accomplishing DHEC-OCRM’s mission."


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