Tag Archives: DHEC
Cape Romain Contractors prepare to remove an abandoned boat off the floor of Hobcaw Creek in Mount Pleasant, SC.  Photo by: Cyrus Buffum

Cape Romain Contractors prepare to remove an abandoned boat off the floor of Hobcaw Creek in Mount Pleasant, SC. Photo by: Cyrus Buffum

In an effort to clean up some of the abandoned boats littering Charleston’s waterways, the town of Mount Pleasant spearheaded the removal of several derelict vessels over the past few days.  Receiving $40,000 in grant money from the Department of Health and Environmental Control and contributing $10,000 of their own, the town contracted the job out to Cape Romain Contractors.

Some of the boats targeted in this cleanup effort have been abandoned for over a decade.  As a result, some have sunk to the pluff mud bottom that lies below.  The delicacy of these boats poses an especially high environmental threat to our waterways.  Rotting hulls, rusting engines and leaking tanks all lead to one thing… pollutants entering out waterways.

Today, while removing the last contracted boat out of Hobcaw Creek, Cape Romain Contractors deployed a boom around the parameter of the removal zone in order to catch and retain any potential contaminants that were released upon removal of the derelict vessel.  When it came time for removal, the vessel did not come up easily; workers had try several attempts before removing the bulk of the rotten boat.   Click here for more pictures from today’s removal.

The Beaufort County environmental watchdog organization, Friends of the River, is not slowing down for the holidays. Their job as “watchdog” over the many rivers and estuaries to our south is a 24/7/365 commitment.

The organization is proposing to submit a dock ordinance to state and local officials next month that would apply to rivers classified as “Outstanding Resource Waters.” This classification is given by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to waters with “exceptional recreational or ecological importance or of unusual value.”

In Beaufort County there are four rivers classified as Outstanding Resource Waters: the May, Okatie, Colleton and New rivers. The proposed ordinance would limit the number of community docks at new developments, would require all new developments on the rivers to go through an environmental impact study (EIS), and would require any maintenance on current developments and docks to be subject to public review.

This move by the Friends of the River comes after DHEC approved the Pinckney Point development (which consists of 3 community docks, 30 boat lifts and a boat ramp) without hearing any of the 20 appeals made by the public.

DHEC did however scale the proposed development down a bit; the Pinckney development had originally proposed 76 homes and 70 boat lifts. DHEC found that this development would have significant impact on the quality of the waterways and thus found it to violate the Clean Water Act.

Friends of the River are demanding that DHEC do more to protect the health of our Lowcountry waterways.

Although we agree that a community presence on the water is essential to assuring that our waterways are protected, such a high concentration of activity can adversely affect the health of the entire ecological system. In this instance, the proposed development is located at the headwaters of the Okatie and Colleton rivers and thus would influence the health of both rivers in their entirety.