FAIRFIELD COUNTY – The effects of the historical flooding are still being felt in Fairfield County although the number of closed bridges and roads had dropped from double digits earlier this week to three as of Thursday night.
According the S.C. Department of Transportation, River Road from Westshore Drive to Kingfisher Drive remained closed due to flooding while Estes Lane was closed from Landis Road to Gibson Branch Creek due to the approaches to the bridge being severely eroded.
S.C. 123 was open to traffic from Broad River Bridge to Jenkinsville Road but additional work will be needed. Lanes will be closed during the daytime to complete the work but both lanes will be reopened for each shift change at V.C. Summer.
Following the Presidential disaster declaration for counties affected by the severe storms and flooding that began on Oct. 1, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in several counties – including Fairfield County — are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 4.
In anticipation of a major effort to collect debris resulting from the rain and flooding in the state, the SCDOT wants to make the public aware of the guidelines for the collection of debris.
Categories of debris that will be collected by SCDOT:
• Vegetative debris: Tree branches, leaves, logs & plants. DO NOT BAG this material.
• Construction/Demolition material: Carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, mattresses, plumbing materials, shingles and tiles.
• Appliances: Air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers.
• Electronics: Computers, televisions, stereos, radios and other devices with an electrical cord.
• Household Hazardous Waste: Cleaning supplies, lawn chemicals, oils, oil-based paints and stains, pesticides
If you have or will receive insurance proceeds for the removal or disposal of flood generated debris, do not place on rights of way for collection by SCDOT. SCDOT will not collect normal household trash and bagged debris of any kind. Property owners should continue to follow normal garbage removal schedules.
The debris should be separated into the categories listed above. Property owners should not stack or lean debris on or near trees, fire hydrants, mail boxes or other structures. Debris should be placed at the edge of the property line at the curb.
Any debris placed between a sidewalk toward the property will not be collected by SCDOT. A schedule will be released when the details have been determined.
S.C. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers reiterated that the state’s farmers will need to be taken care of in the aftermath of the flooding and damage to farms.
“I toured the state by air on Monday and Tuesday and witnessed the shocking impact of the rainfall on our farms in the path of this storm – thousands of farm acres under water, farm buildings standing as islands in the water, and farm roads washed away,” he said.
Seeing the devastation was the first step in the long process of assessing the impact on agriculture in South Carolina, he said, adding that staff from the S.C. Department of Agriculture (SCDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Clemson Extension Service have started initial damage assessments.
Conservative early estimates are that direct crop losses could exceed $300 million.
“The storm has had a significant statewide effect, and it appears that low lying farmland adjacent to river systems and creeks was most severely impacted,” Weathers said. “The crops affected include peanuts, cotton, fall vegetables, soybeans, and some timber. Poultry farmers are working to repair access roads to get feed trucks to their flocks. Livestock and poultry assessments continue in impacted areas. Timber harvest will resume when the logging roads are passable. Long-term, this disaster will cause an income loss for local farmers and the rural counties of South Carolina.”
Weathers acknowledged that 2015 has been a challenging year for South Carolina farmers.
“We have dealt with a severe drought during the growing season and now excessive rainfall at harvest. Efforts will continue to gauge losses through the completion of harvest season,” he said. “We’re going to work on behalf of our farmers with the federal and state resources and assistance our farmers have access to.”
He said a request has been sent to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for an agricultural disaster declaration to be made, which would begin the process for federal assistance to farmers.
“Right now, the most important thing for farmers to do is learn the details of their crop insurance policies and immediately contact their crop insurance agent prior to making any additional investments in their crop,” he said.
For assistance and questions, farmers should contact the local USDA FSA office serving their counties or Kenn Jameson with the state USDA FSA office at 803-806-3820 ext. 107 or email@example.com. SCDA in Columbia can be reached at 803-734-2210.
Patricia M. Edwards is the regional editor for Civitas Media’s properties in South Carolina, which includes The Herald Independent. She is also the General Manager for The Herald Independent.