Georgetown drainage project nears its end

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCIV) - The end is finally in sight for the City of Georgetown drainage project. According to Georgetown's Director of Public Service Jonathan Heald, the project is set to be completed by the end of March -- at the latest mid-April.

The project has been surrounded by controversy after sinkholes formed near the construction and wrecked several businesses in the city. Since October 2011, the City drainage project has pumped thousands of gallons of water from underneath the city's streets.

At one point, workers were pumping 60,000 gallons of water per hour per week.

City officials say one affected business has filed a lawsuit against contractors of the project and the South Carolina Department of Transportation{}in connection to the sinkholes.

Report findings concluded that the drainage project's construction in an area with fossiliferous marine limestone is the cause of the sinkholes. The lawsuit filing states that engineers did not conduct any hydro-geological testing before the dewatering work of the project took place.

Jonathan Heald says that despite the lawsuits, construction is still going strong.

"The project's purpose is that during large storm events - hurricanes, tropical storms, large rain events -- City Hall would flood sometimes as much as 3 to 4 feet," Heald said. "There were pictures of people being carried out by firemen and firemen being up to their waste in water and cars underwater -- so the idea was to give the water a place to go instead of pounding in City Hall."

"Obviously it won't fix all the flooding, we can get a storm that will always overwhelm the system, but hopefully it will alleviate a lot of storms that we've been seeing in the area," he added.