September 21, 2005
The levee failures in New Orleans have put the spotlight on disaster plans across America. And that includes one for Thurmond Dam. News 12 is on your side to explain the response in the event of a complete dam failure.
Allison Carr has lived near Evans to Locks Road for twenty years and has seen threats of flooding come and go.
“Back in the early 90’s, we didn’t have a problem here at all. Nobody around here flooded, so I’m not that concerned,” Carr said.
But what would happen if a doomsday scenario played out, an earthquake or terrorist attack destroying the Thurmond Dam? It’s something Columbia County has actually planned for. Some of the flooding could stretch to Wood Creek, miles away from the dam. And at Westlake Country Club, officials say the waters would likely rise slowly, taking five to seven hours to reach the tops of houses.
“I have a friend who’s dad insisted she put extra clothes in her car in case it should happen she needs to get away really quickly,” Carr said.
The “Dam Failure and Flooding” plan even includes sample press releases…one example, “A portion of J. Strom Thurmond Dam is in imminent danger of failure…residents in low-lying areas everywhere along the Savannah River should immediately move to higher ground.”
But Carr’s not too concerned.
“I think it’s utterly ridiculous that people have lived in this town 50 years and now all of a sudden they’re like oh my gosh the dam’s gonna break,” Carr said.
But there is some relief that a plan’s in place for that possibility.
Click here to view Columbia County’s complete Dam Disaster Plan written back in 2001. It includes a street-by-street breakdown of which streets might be affected by a dam failure.