State issues emergency order to help get sand onto Edisto’s eroding coastline

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By HEATHER RUPPE

Edisto Beach officials and their hired contractors are working under an emergency state order to repair damage done to the beach recently by King Tides, a series of abnormal and higher-than-usual tides that have pulled mass amounts of sand from parts of the town’s beachfront.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recently issued the emergency order that allows the town to scrape sand from the inner-tidal beach areas. The rules pertaining to this are tight, which protects the inner-tidal areas and private property. “It’s very limited what we are doing … we are scraping below the low tide and are pushing it up to protect structures and keep water off the road,” said Iris Hill, administrator of the Town of Edisto Beach.

Houses at the beach are elevated, which saved damage from actual homes during these King Tide events. However, there was erosion on the beach, which took away some of the emergency sand that was placed onto the beach after Hurricane Dorian. However, this particular sand erosion problem at Edisto is because of the King Tides, or higher-than-normal tides that yank large amounts of sand away from the seashore.

King Tides are becoming more and more prevalent, especially along the South Carolina coast. The Town of Edisto Beach has been working with federal authorities to help create a master plan to fight erosion: as a part of that erosion study,

Between 2010 to 2019, there were 42.4 tides documented by the National Weather Service. All of these were King Tides.

To put this in perspective, there were 21.4 King Tides documented along Edisto Beach from 2009 to 2020. All of these higher tides are creating flooding problems and erosion issues at Edisto.

Edisto Beach officials have been working with various organizations on a long-term plan to prevent erosion and to help solve the town’s ongoing flooding woes.

This particular project began on Friday, Nov. 19th and will continue for 30 days, according to the SCHDEC emergency order. Since they can only work at low tides, the work will be done at various points of the day and is a grueling process, said Hill.

This sand-scraping project is paid for with the town’s local A-Tax money.

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