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Mayor's Greeting- February 2024

Fri, 02/16/2024

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Dear Island Neighbors,                               

In last month’s column I briefly mentioned some of the Town’s efforts to improve our stormwater management. In response to a number of questions, I’ve asked Deputy Town Administrator Joe Henderson to provide more details on the different projects. The map shows the areas generally included in each watershed. (For more details, go to   and .)

One thing to note: We have to discharge our stormwater through outfalls on the marsh side of the Island, not the beach. (Although the marsh side has historically been called the “back beach”.) Many of these outfalls will require check valves to prevent tides from coming up the stormwater pipes.

Here is Joe’s list of current and proposed stormwater projects, with their funding mechanisms:

  • Stormwater Master Plan (FEMA; underway): This project will develop our overall “blueprint” to comprehensively address current Island flooding and prepare for tomorrow’s changing coastal environment. It includes assessing the overall system and inspecting and cataloging our existing drainage infrastructure to prioritize steps to improve it.
  • Resilience and Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan (FEMA; consultant selection underway): The plan will produce clear strategies to identify, assess and plan for potential impacts of sea level rise, storm events and other environmental hazards.
  • Watershed improvements (South Carolina Infrastructure Improvement Program (SCIIP); in design stage coordinated with master plan): State and federally funded grant of $10 million dollars to improve the stormwater collection and discharge system (replace damaged and inadequately sized pipes, improve outfalls, create new inlets and manholes as needed) for the following watersheds:
    • Station 16 watershed- ±48 acres of service area. Intended to   mitigate existing flooding along Middle Street and Station 16 (considerable impacts seen between Poe and Atlantic Avenue).
    • Station 25 watershed- ±53 acres of service area.
    • Station 28.5 watershed- ±89 acres of service area.
    • Station 31 watershed- ±83 acres of service area; represents the largest low-lying depressional area
  • Station 18 to Station 19 (FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant; HMGP): Initial design phase approved in 2017 and completed; awaiting FEMA approval of funds to construct it. One of the worst-affected areas during average to heavy rain events.
  • Outfalls at Station 19 and Station 25 (FEMA HMGP; grant application under review):  This work would take place concurrently with other stormwater improvement projects.
  • Osceola Avenue Outfall Improvements (underway): Improve drainage throughout the western end of the Island by cleaning infrastructure and pipes and upgrading outfalls with tide check valves where needed.
  • Commercial District watershed improvements from Station 22 to Station 22.5 (proposed): Improve flow in ditches and pipes leading to the drainage outfall at Station 22.5.

As you can see, this is a very ambitious and costly program for such a small town, and it will take years to accomplish, but we have taken the important initial steps. We owe our Town staff a lot of credit for seeking and getting these grants.

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil
843 670 9266
Twitter: @oneilpm1