Some of you may be wondering what’s been happening since the Jan. 22 DHEC meeting at Magnolia Hall. If you judge what’s been happening by the reconstruction activity, or lack thereof, then you’d come to the conclusion: “not much”, and you’d be right.
Pulte developed an “action plan” (or should I say, “inaction” plan) that includes about half of the needed work to fix the Phase 5 lagoons. DHEC-OCRM, the state agency charged with approving the design, construction, and operation of the lagoons, hasn’t required Pulte to include ALL required reconstruction in their action plan.
There have been two meetings with DHEC since Jan. 22 in their office in Beaufort—one in March and the other last Friday. In addition to the meetings we’ve exchanged emails with DHEC staff.
DHEC has been playing “word games” insisting, on the one hand, that they only regulate storage volume, NOT pond depth, or other pertinent items, such as embankments, freeboard, compaction, trees in embankments, etc. On the other hand, DHEC-OCRM has conducted three compliance inspection reports since the Jan. 22 meeting at Magnolia Hall (3/24, 4/8, and 4/23). These reports cite violations and corrective actions for 22 Phase 5 ponds. Some ponds were cited for violations in more than one report. They cite problems with depths, water surface elevations, overflows, slopes, erosion, etc. All three reports allot 21 days for corrective action. Needless to say, the 21 days has expired for all three reports, and NOTHING has happened. DHEC-OCRM is a paper tiger.
I expect the “word games” to continue, ad nauseum. As far as the reconstruction is concerned, you’ll see what happens, and when it happens, the same that I will. As far as DHEC addressing other lagoons outside Phase 5, at the pace that they move, I’m not optimistic that this will EVER happen in our lifetimes.
Please visit http://schhphase5lagoons.blogspot.com/ and add your observations on the reconstruction. The more people who are watching and reporting on what’s happening with the reconstruction, the better.