In the city council article of the Monday, Feb. 4, meeting, Brandon Harrelson reported to council that the hydrology study has been completed. He stated that he will email each council member with the results of the study and schedule to meet to discuss what direction they will be taking.
The Earthworks Planning and Design Consultants in Murrells Inlet were hired to study the city’s water system to help with the drainage and run-off water for the city to make improvements. Brandon Harrelson, the city’s public works director, has worked closely with the engineers from the firm. He was out in the trenches with his boots soaked and up to his knees in water to assist with the study.
In the article regarding the council meeting it was written and published in the paper as a hydraulic study, a misunderstanding of words, the city had a hydrology study. Hydrologists or hydrology engineers measure the properties of bodies of water, such as the volume and stream flow. They collect water and soil samples to test for pH or pollution levels, analyze data of the environmental impacts of pollution, erosion, drought and other problems. They research the findings to help minimize the environmental impacts these have in an area.
The hydrology has evolved as a science in response to the need to understand the complex water systems and help solve water problems. The word comes from the Greek word hydor meaning water and logos meaning study, therefore a scientific study of the movement, distribution and quality of water. Hydrologists work outdoors and in offices. In the field they may wade into lakes and streams to collect samples or to handle the monitoring equipment.
Hydrology is used for city water supply design which is based on catchments area, the amount of rainfall, a dry period, storage capacity, run-off evaporation and transpiration which is the passage of water through a plant from the roots through the vascular system to the atmosphere.
This study provides a scientific response that deals with all aspects of water including occurrence of water, its properties, its distribution and circulation and its effects on the living beings and their surroundings.
The tools used for the study of the distribution, flow and interaction of the water include several areas of science including geology, chemistry, soil science and plant physiology.
The Earthworks Group states that their hydrologists and engineers are dedicated and have the experience to provide detailed hydrological assessments that are carried out as part of the flood risk and drainage assessments. They use a combination of topographical information, site investigations, hydrological data, flow surveys, rainfall data, geological information and other historic data to determine the extent of the catchment areas controlling the run-off and the flows in watercourses and drainage systems. The key to hydrological studies can provide catchment analysis and flows, rainfall analysis, hydrogeology, overland flow and run-off assessment, watercourse hydraulics, flood risk assessment and drainage impact assessment.
Harrelson said, “I am hoping the study will finally give us the answers to the city flooding issues.” He stated that he hopes the results of the study will bring some comfort to the citizens that have flooded by previous storms, knowing we are working to help protect their properties. At least the city will now know what can or cannot be done.
This study was in progress before Hurricane Florence, however, there are a few residents who live on Forest Drive who feel the city could do more to prevent the amount of flooding they received. Residents were evacuated due to the flooding. They stated that the water was cold and chest deep on the street level. With 22 inches of rain within a 24 hour period, setting a record for Loris, caused drainage ditches to overflow and enter the homes on one side of the road where the drainage ditch is behind the back yards. This study may help bring some less frustration they feel over the flooding they had in September.
Once the study is presented to council and discussed with Harrelson, residents will be able to rest easier knowing there will be a pattern to follow to help with the water drainage throughout the city of Loris.