Car Accident Attorney inConestee, SC

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CHSA Law, LLC Fighting
for Your Rights in Conestee, SC

When an accident comes without warning, even the most prepared person can fall victim. One moment, you're walking to a restaurant after a long day of work. The next moment, someone else's negligence and carelessness change your life forever. Personal injury victims aren't just the victims of negligence they suffer from pain, concern over family and ability to work. Often, these victims do not have the luxury of worrying about work and family, because they're clinging to life in an ER. Without a personal injury attorney in Conestee, SC, by their side, they mistakenly provide official statements to insurance agencies and accept settlement offers that only account for a fraction of what they have lost.

If you have recently been hurt in an accident, you may be asking questions like:

  • "What happens now?"
  • "How will I pay for my hospital bills?"
  • "Will I get fired from my job?"
  • "Will I be able to function independently ever again?"

With more than 100,000 car accidents in South Carolina every year, we hear these questions every day. Our hearts hurt for those who are suffering due to no fault of their own. Accident victims are not only left with questions like those above; they're also forced to deal with costs associated with medical bills, car repair, follow-up appointments, and loss of income.

While reading these facts can be bleak, there is a silver lining. South Carolina law dictates that those who are found responsible for your pain and suffering may be obligated to pay for your expenses. CHSA Law, LLC exists for that exact reason to make sure that negligent parties are held accountable. We fight on your behalf to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We aren't afraid to go toe-to-toe with greedy insurance agencies who do not have your best interests at heart.

Our overarching goal is to protect your rights, and our law firm is uniquely positioned to do so, with attorney Michael Dill‘s vast experience in the auto insurance industry.

Personal Injury Attorney Conestee, SC
Service Areas

We offer comprehensive vehicle representation for a number of different automobile accidents, including:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Drunk Driving
  • Rollovers
  • Multi-Vehicle Accidents
  • Automobile Defects
  • Roadway Defects
  • Speeding
  • Reckless Driving
  • Uninsured Motorists or
    Underinsured Drivers
  • Rear-End Collisions
  • Car Rental Accidents
  • RV Accidents

If you know you have been involved in one of the car accidents above, the time to seek experienced representation is now. Generally, car accident victims have three years from the date of their injuries to file a personal injury claim in Conestee. That time frame can be reduced in certain circumstances. When a wrongful death is involved, surviving family members must take action in a similar time frame.

The bottom line is that speed is of the essence in these cases. When we sit down with you to learn more about your accident, we will help you understand South Carolina law so that you are fully informed before taking legal action. The sooner we can dig into the details of your case, the sooner we can fight for your rights.

We Recover Compensation
When You Need It Most

The law states that personal injury victims are entitled to compensation for the full extent of their injuries. Why? Because the primary goal of injury compensation in Conestee, SC, is to help the victim return to the state they would have been in, if the accident never occurred. In the literal sense, doing so isn't possible. The law cannot reverse the incredible suffering and pain that accompanies a severe injury. As such, personal injury victims are entitled to receive a financial reward that equals those damages.

How much compensation you get depends on the facts and nuances of your case. With that said, you may be able to recover compensation for the following needs:

  • Rehab-Related Expenses like
    Physical Therapy
  • All Medical Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Lost Wages and Loss of
    Future Income Earning Ability
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional Distress
  • Mental Anguish

If you or someone you love was recently injured in a car wreck, contact our office today to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Conestee, SC. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin fighting for your rights and the compensation you need.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Conestee, SC The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference
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What Our Clients Say

The Role of Negligence in Your
Conestee Personal Injury Case

If there were one common truth that we can count on, it's that life is unpredictable. Sometimes, accidents just happen. However, when recklessness and negligence come into play in situations where accidents cause personal injuries, the negligent party can be held responsible under South Carolina law. For victims to have a chance at compensation, the party responsible for the accident must be proven to be negligent. When a party or parties are negligent, they fail to take appropriate care when performing an action, like driving an automobile.

 Car Accident Attorney Conestee, SC
At CHSA Law, LLC, our team works to prove negligence
for our clients by proving:
  • The defendant had an obligation to look out for your safety.
  • The defendant did not uphold that duty.
  • There was causation between the defendant's breach of duty and the injuries you sustained.
  • You suffered real damages.

After an accident occurs, it is critical to take certain steps to help prove the responsible party's negligence and maximize the compensation you rightly deserve.

Steps to Maximize Compensation
After an Accident in Conestee, SC

All too often, car wreck victims don't get the compensation they need because they failed to take the proper steps after their accident. Don't let this be you. By having comprehensive records of your car accident and its aftermath, you have a much better chance of protecting your rights and maximizing compensation for your bills and injuries. If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Conestee, follow these steps before doing anything else:

1.

Go to a Doctor

First and foremost, seek medical attention for any injuries that you have sustained. You might not realize it now, but your injuries may be more complex and serious than you think. Damage like head trauma and back injuries are not easy to diagnose on your own and sometimes take time to surface. A full medical examination will help reveal the extent of your injuries, lead to a quicker recovery, and help document the injuries you sustained. This last part is essential to prove the significance of your injuries.

 Law Firm Conestee, SC
2.

File an
Accident Report

The second step you should take is to report your injuries to the correct authorities. The authorities change depending on the circumstances of your accident. If you were involved in a car wreck in Conestee, you should file your report with the highway authorities and any associated insurance agencies. Regardless of where you were injured and how the wreck occurred, the biggest takeaway here is to file a report. That way, you have an established, official record of the incident that can be referred to down the line.

Personal Injury Attorney Conestee, SC
3.

Preserve Evidence
if Possible

Personal injury cases in Conestee are won with evidence. It might sound like the job of the police, but it's important that you try to secure any evidence that you can collect relating to your accident, especially if you are injured. Evidence in auto accident cases tends to disappear quickly. By preserving evidence soon after the accident, it can be used in court. For example, if you cannot get a witness statement immediately after your wreck, their testimony may come across as less reliable. Completing this task on your own can be quite difficult, especially after a serious accident. That's why it's so crucial to complete the last step below.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Conestee, SC
4.

Contact a Lawyer

One of the most intelligent, important steps you can take after a car accident is calling a personal injury attorney in Conestee, SC. At CHSA Law, LLC, we will assist you with every step of your personal injury case to ensure that your rights are protected. That includes gathering all types of evidence relevant to your case. When we investigate your accident, we will determine the person who is liable for your losses. If there are multiple liable parties, we will hold each one accountable for their negligence.

Every personal injury case is different, which is why experience counts when it comes to car accident compensation. Our track record speaks for itself, but no number of past results will guarantee a perfect outcome. What we can guarantee, however, is our undivided attention and fierce dedication to your case, no matter the circumstances. Unlike other personal injury law firms in Conestee, you can have peace of mind knowing your best interests always come first at CHSA Law, LLC.

 Car Accident Attorney Conestee, SC

Common Car Accidents in
Conestee, SC

At CHSA Law, LLC, we have years of experience handling some of Conestee's most complicated car accident cases. Some of the most common cases that come across our desks include:

Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving is a major problem in the Lowcountry. Drunk drivers are incredibly irresponsible and regularly cause fatal accidents because they drive physically and mentally impaired by alcohol. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times, delayed reflexes, and impaired vision, making them unfit to operate a motor vehicle. In auto wrecks, drunk drivers often come away with minor injuries compared to their victims, which is a bitter pill to swallow

Individuals who make a choice to drive drunk cause accidents by weaving in and out of traffic, going over the speed limit, failing to see pedestrians, and ignoring traffic laws. They may run cars off the road, rear-end vehicles, hit them head-on, or even cause a vehicle to roll over.

Drunk driving accidents in Conestee care result in horrible injuries, such as:

  • Burns
  • Broken Bones
  • Head Injuries
  • Brain Trauma
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Mental Anguish

If you are injured or have lost a family member due to an impaired or drunk driver, our team of personal injury lawyers in Conestee can help. We have extensive experience with car accident cases and can explain your rights in simple, plain terms. It is important to know that you can file a personal injury suit regardless of the criminal case outcome against the drunk driver.

 Law Firm Conestee, SC

Rental and RV Accidents

When accidents happen in RVs or rental cars, people are often unsure of their rights. This confusion is understandable since there are additional insurance and legal issues that must be accounted for in these cases.

Fortunately, the lawyers at CHSA Law, LLC, have the experience to help you with complex car accident and RV cases. Attorney Michael Dill worked in the auto insurance industry before becoming an attorney. He also has an undergraduate degree that includes a focus on risk management and insurance. When it comes to rental and RV accidents, we review each client's case with a fine-tooth comb. Once we understand your accident, our team will explain your rights and options in easy-to-understand terms.

If you were involved in an accident while driving an RV or a rental vehicle, you may find that your auto insurance company, the rental car's insurance company, and the other party's insurance carrier will try to deny your claim. Situations like these call for a bold, experienced personal injury attorney in Conestee, SC, who isn't afraid of large corporations and insurance groups. We have extensive experience with insurance companies and know how to interpret policies. As your advocate, we will ensure that you receive the coverage and compensation you are entitled to, even if an insurance company says you aren't.

We can help you seek compensation in cases that involve:

  • Injuries from Boating Ac
    cidents
  • Rental Cars Injuries
  • RV Accidents
  • Jet Ski Injuries
  • Golf Cart Injuries
  • Rental cars
  • Boat accidents
  • ATV Accidents

Victims of RV and rental car accidents (as well as their families) may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income or benefits. Our personal injury lawyers work with life-care planners, medical experts, and economists to determine the amount of compensation you will need.

Personal Injury Attorney Conestee, SC

Texting While Driving and
Distracted Driving Accidents

We live in a time where just about everyone has their eyes glued to their phones. Often, this happens in situations where the person needs to be paying attention, like when they're driving an automobile. Taking a few moments to glance down at your phone can cause irreparable damage to other drivers. That is why texting while driving is illegal in Conestee. Typically, this crime is met with a minor traffic violation. However, when a distracted driver injures another motorist, you can seek compensation through a legal suit. If you have been injured in such a situation, our team can help you hold the negligent driver accountable for your losses and damages.

Texting takes drivers' minds and eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel. Because they are not paying attention to their driving,

They miss crucial road signs and information such as:

  • Changes in the Flow
    of Traffic
  • Traffic Lights
  • Traffic Signs
  • Work Zones
  • Bicyclists
  • Lane Changes
  • Incapacitate Cars and
    Motorists

At CHSA Law, LLC, we represent injury victims in Conestee who are involved in all types of car accidents, including distracted driving. We work with vigor to recover the full amount of compensation you and your family will need to recover. You can rely on our attorneys for dedicated, representation throughout your case. Unlike some distracted driving lawyers in Conestee, we will assist you with all aspects of your accident, including access to good medical care if needed.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Conestee, SC

Unflinching Legal Advocacy. Compassionate Care

At CHSA Law, LLC, we are proud of our commitment to our clients. We pledge to provide them with the highest quality legal representation in Conestee and treat them with respect, empathy, and compassion. If you are suffering from the results of a dangerous car accident, know we are here to assist.

We will help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and additional losses. Surviving family members may also recover funeral expenses and compensation for the personal loss of a loved one, including the deceased's future income and benefits. When you or your family's health and financial security are on the line, trust the best choose CHSA Law, LLC.

CONTACT US

Latest News in Conestee, SC

Replacement for crumbling 130-year-old dam holding back toxic waste fully funded

GREENVILLE, S.C. —This week, South Carolina state lawmakers allocated funding to replace a more than a century-old Greenville County dam that officials have called a ticking time bomb.South Carolina will allocate $36 million to replace the Conestee Dam, a 130-year-old dam that's cracking. If it bursts, it will impact hundreds of thousands of lives and will cost $2 billion to clean up."We are appreciative of the funding from the legislature. It's not the entire amount that we requested, but we ...

GREENVILLE, S.C. —

This week, South Carolina state lawmakers allocated funding to replace a more than a century-old Greenville County dam that officials have called a ticking time bomb.

South Carolina will allocate $36 million to replace the Conestee Dam, a 130-year-old dam that's cracking. If it bursts, it will impact hundreds of thousands of lives and will cost $2 billion to clean up.

"We are appreciative of the funding from the legislature. It's not the entire amount that we requested, but we believe with that funding of 36 million plus the commitments we have from local stakeholders, we should be in good shape," said Kelly Lowry, the president of the Lake Conestee Dam Restoration Fund.

Built in the late 1800s, Lowry said the Conestee Dam was only meant to last 50 years. DHEC studies show it's holding back tons of toxic sludge dumped into the Reedy River decades ago by mills and businesses. Some of those chemicals have been proven to cause cancer. If the dam bursts, the chemicals would flow into Lake Greenwood, Greenwood County and Laurens Counties' main drinking water source.

"You know, had the dam burst and all that came downstream, it could have gone all the way to Lake Murray, and we were looking at probably two billion dollars cleanup," said Sen. Billy Garrett.

People who call Greenwood County home, like Bradley Wootten, said they're relieved they don't have to move away.

"I'll feel even better once I see that the governor has signed the bill. And I'll feel ecstatic once I see a bulldozer down there doing some work," he said.

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Greenville County Councilman Butch Kirven said because the state agreed to fund $36 million instead of their original $30 million proposal, it won't take as much help from local groups to reach the about $45 million needed to replace Conestee.

According to Kirven, "And we're not sure yet how it's going to change those ratios, so perhaps we won't need quite as much money from county of Greenville to make the dam a reality."

According to Lowry, the next steps include permitting, finishing up schematic design, and fieldwork. He believed the new dam could be up in about three years. They'll break ground next summer.

$47.5M plan to prevent Lake Conestee Dam from failing awaits state approval

When you visit Conestee Nature Preserve, you can explore miles of trails where you might see wildlife such as deer, beavers, and even river otters — all amid the tranquility of one of the area’s most beloved natural settings.But lurking beneath the waters of Lake Conestee, a little way downstream from the preserve, rests a peril many believe is a disaster waiting to happen: perhaps as much as 3.25 ...

When you visit Conestee Nature Preserve, you can explore miles of trails where you might see wildlife such as deer, beavers, and even river otters — all amid the tranquility of one of the area’s most beloved natural settings.

But lurking beneath the waters of Lake Conestee, a little way downstream from the preserve, rests a peril many believe is a disaster waiting to happen: perhaps as much as 3.25 million cubic yards of sediment containing toxic metals like chromium and mercury, and other harmful chemicals like PCBs and pesticides. Those contaminants, confirmed by sampling conducted 20 years ago according to DHEC, are the result of more than a century of industrial pollution dumped into the Reedy River by textile and other manufacturers, which settled out in the waters held back by Lake Conestee Dam.

“Designed to meet modern engineering standards, the new structure would last well into the next century.” ?Kelly Lowry, DHEC representative

The dam was built more than 130 years ago and has been slowly deteriorating for decades, and fears of the dam’s failure are adding urgency to a push to secure state funding for a $47.5 million plan to build a new dam and prevent disaster.

The new dam would be built 10 feet downstream from the original and be anchored into the bedrock. Designed to meet modern engineering standards, the new structure would last well into the next century, according to Kelly Lowry, a private attorney from Spartanburg representing the state Department of Health and Environmental Control for the project.

Lowry briefed local leaders about plans for a new dam earlier this month at a meeting of Greenville County Council.

Conestee Nature Preserve holds endless wonders for birding enthusiasts

If the dam were to fail, he says the impact could be severe and cost millions — if not billions — of dollars in physical and environmental damage. The contaminated sediment would make its way downriver for years, eventually ending up in Boyd Mill Pond and Lake Greenwood, causing untold human and ecological harm.

DHEC confirms drinking water for an entire region would be contaminated, as Lake Greenwood is the main source for thousands of nearby residents.

Without the dam, Conestee Nature Preserve would also lose a lot of species attracted to the wetlands at the preserve due to water levels.

“If we didn’t have the dam, we’d have a much drier preserve area and we would lose a lot of species that love the wetlands,” says Gene McCall, an attorney working for the Conestee Foundation, which owns Conestee Nature Preserve.

Lowry says there’s no way to know whether such a disaster is imminent.

“It is a 100% complete unknown,” he says.

Page 1 of 33

August 26, 2022

VIA EMAIL, CERTIFIED & FIRST-CLASS MAIL

9214 8969 0099 9790 1422 1316 69

Michael Corley., Executive Director

Bill Bridges, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Conestee Foundation, Inc.

PO Box 9111

Greenville, SC 29604

Subject: Inspection of LAKE CONESTEE DAM, D2876, Greenville County,

Significant Hazard Class

Dear Mr. Corley and Mr. Bridges:

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (the Department/DHEC)

inspected your dam on August 18, 2022 and the report of that inspection is enclosed. Dam Safety

Program staff are available to discuss the results of the inspection with you. A summary of the

inspection report is as follows:

Inspection Summary

Overall Rating: Poor

Repair Activities Requiring a Permit and Prompt Resolution

• Engage a professional engineer to evaluate the penstock and to develop a plan for any

necessary repairs pursuant to their direction

Repair Activities Requiring a Permit and Long-Term Resolution

• Due to the continued movement of fine sediments which may potentially contain hazardous

constituents, a repair plan should be developed to address and control the seepage through

the dam.

Monitoring and Maintenance Activities NOT Requiring a Permit

• Monitor the dam in accordance with the EAP provided by the LCF and Kleinschmidt and

submit any documentation to the Department after high flow events or an inspection that is

performed in response to a seismic event.

• Implement the Kleinschmidt’s recommendation for periodic application of herbicides to the

water retaining structures to control vegetative growth on the structures that otherwise

would accelerate the deterioration of masonry and concrete. Consult with a professional for

Page 2 of 33

a herbicide that is labeled safe for aquatic use. It is noted that herbicide has recently been

applied to the dam.

• Routinely monitor for the accumulation of debris on the crest of the spillway and buildup on

the upstream side of the dam and safely remove as necessary.

• Visually monitor and document seepage and leakage through the dam. Please provide this

documentation periodically to the Department and at the next routine preliminary

inspection. If there is an increase in the amount of flow due to seepage, notify the

Department immediately.

• Perform weekly visual monitoring, and photographically document, the leakage around the

wood bulkhead over the penstock opening. Please provide a weekly report to me of the

findings via email.

Your dam is currently a Significant Hazard dam and its overall condition was assessed as “Poor”. This

rating, as established by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the National Inventory of Dams,

means “a dam safety deficiency is recognized for loading conditions, which may realistically occur.

Remedial action is necessary. A POOR condition is used when uncertainties exist as to critical analysis

parameters, which identify a potential dam safety deficiency. Further investigations and studies are

necessary.”

The Department requests the submission of a plan of action regarding the penstock flows no

later than COB September 16, 2022.

Repair activities denote significant deficiencies with the dam and require the involvement of a

Professional Engineer licensed to practice engineering in South Carolina. Your engineer should

prepare and submit a permit application to the Department for the proposed repair work. No

action can be taken to repair the dam until you have received a Department-issued permit; however,

in case of an emergency, where the owner finds repairs are necessary to safeguard life or property,

repairs may begin immediately but you shall immediately notify the department of the proposed

repair and work being undertaken. The Department requests the submission of a Permit

Application no later than December 30, 2022 to address the repair activities requiring prompt

resolution. This submission should also address and provide for a timeline regarding the

repair activities identified for long term resolution.

Shouldyou failto fulfill the actions detailed within the Preliminary Inspection report, and since the

condition of your dam has been determined to be unsafe and a danger to life or property, this letter

serves as courtesy notification that the Department is prepared toissue an Inspection and Repair

Order pursuant to S.C. Dams and Reservoirs Safety Act, S.C. Code Ann. § 49-11-110, et seq. and

Dams and Reservoirs Safety Act Regulations, 9 S.C. Code Ann. Regs 72-1 et seq.

Maintenance activities should be initiated immediately, if you have not already done so, and should

be completed as soon as possible. The involvement of a Professional Engineer is not required for

maintenance activities. Photographs can be submitted to the Department as confirmation that

these maintenance items have been addressed; alternatively, the Department can be contacted to

visit the dam and review the completed maintenance work.

As the owner of a regulated dam, it is your responsibility to routinely monitor the dam for any

deterioration of the dam which may lead to dam failure. Monitoring activities should be initiated

Page 3 of 33

immediately if you have not already done so and should continue until the Department determines

that conditions at the dam no longer pose a threat to life or property. Please notify the Department

if you notice any change in the area(s) being monitored.

In closing, failure to maintain the dam in a safe condition is a violation of the SC Dams and

Reservoirs Safety Act, S.C. Code Ann. 49-11-110, et seq., (2008). Your voluntary cooperation is

requested; however, failure to comply may result in the Department issuing an “Inspection and

Repair Order” and/or a “Maintenance Order.” The consequences of non-compliance with a

department-issued order may include the assessment of civil penalties pursuant to, S.C. Code Ann.

49-11-110, et seq. (2008) and Regulation 72-1, et seq. (2012).Additionally, at any time should the risk

of dam failure be deemed imminent, the Department has authority under section 49-11-190 of the

S.C. Dams and Reservoir Safety Act to issue an Emergency Order demanding remedial measures be

undertaken by the dam owner to protect life and property. If the owner fails to do so, the

Department my exercise its authority to implement remedial measures when the owner is unable or

unwilling to do so.

Please submit all documents/correspondence via email or to:

Bureau of Water – Dam Safety Program

Attn: Chuck Owens

2600 Bull Street

Columbia, SC 29201

Please let us know if you have any questions and feel free to contact me anytime at (864) 561-1395

or by email at Owensc2@dhec.sc.gov.

Sincerely,

Chuck Owens

Dam Safety Regional Engineering Associate

cc (via email): Jill Stewart, PE, Dam Safety Program, BOW

John McCain, PE, Dam Safety Program, BOW

But the risk is real, as DHEC rated the dam “poor” with “numerous active seeps and deterioration” in 2022.

Funding for the dam project was approved this session by the state House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, but the Senate Finance Committee has yet to vote on the matter.

In 2022, $3 million was allotted from the budget to perform a study by the Kleinschmidt Group to define the problem and recommend solutions for the dam. That money is being used for initial planning but is insufficient to begin construction.

“The $3 million that we got last year is being used right now to create the schematic design, do all the footwork that has to happen before including qualifying contractors who would be doing the actual work,” Lowry says.

Fix for leaking, 131-year-old Conestee Dam may be closer than ever. Here's what to know.

Tim CarlinPores in the 131-year-old Conestee dam have begun seeping potentially hazardous sediment downstream toward Lake Greenwood, a source of drinking water for residents in other counties.And although the masonry dam has withstood the test of time, the Conestee Nature Preserve and Foundation has long called for help implementing a solution.But through a renewed effort by ...

Tim Carlin

Pores in the 131-year-old Conestee dam have begun seeping potentially hazardous sediment downstream toward Lake Greenwood, a source of drinking water for residents in other counties.

And although the masonry dam has withstood the test of time, the Conestee Nature Preserve and Foundation has long called for help implementing a solution.

But through a renewed effort by the nature preserve, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and community stakeholders both up and downstream, plans to build a replacement dam about 10 feet from the current structure could soon become a reality.

"We're definitely excited that we appear to be moving, literally and figuratively, toward a concrete solution," said Gene McCall, an attorney for the Conestee Nature Preserve and Foundation.

Here's when toxic materials were discovered behind Lake Conestee Dam

Twenty years ago, toxic materials were first discovered within the sediment that had built up behind the dam, according to DHEC's website. The sediment had been building up since the dam was first built in 1892.

Before environmental protections like the Clean Water Act were put into place, companies and area textile mills used the Reedy River to get rid of toxic materials, allowing those toxins to attach themselves to the river's sediment, said Spartanburg-based environmental lawyer Kelly D.H. Lowry.

After the toxic materials were discovered, the Conestee Foundation partnered with DHEC to create what is called a voluntary cleanup contract.

According to DHEC, the contract did two things:

The contract said the foundation should allow cleaner sediments to collect and cover the older more contaminated ones. It also said the dam should remain in place to prevent the contaminated sediments from migrating downstream.

Over the years, DHEC continued to monitor the dam, issuing its most recent

That report rated the dam's condition as poor, and encouraged the development of a repair plan to "to address and control the seepage through the dam."

Also in 2022, DHEC received $3 million from the state budget to address long-term solutions to the dam's deterioration. The organization then approached Lowry last summer to oversee the spending of those funds.

Lowry said he asked the Kleinschmidt Group, an engineering consulting firm that had previously created a solutions report for the Conestee Foundation in 2019, to again determine the best path forward.

Consultants came to the same conclusion as before: the best path forward is to leave the current dam in place and build a concrete replacement about 10 feet downstream.

This plan was chosen, Lowry said because there is no feasible way to decontaminate the sediment without causing spillover.

With a new, concrete dam placed a bit further downstream, sediments can continue to seep through the older dam without impacting water quality for downstream residents.

Previous Reporting:'Trash jam' grows at Lake Conestee dam after recent flooding

'We're gambling every day:'Lake Conestee dam remains a flooding and environmental risk

Here's how much fixing Lake Conestee Dam will cost

But the project comes with a price tag of nearly $47.5 million.

Since a dam failure could create "significant harm" across multiple counties, Lowry presented the funding need to the South Carolina House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee, which is currently building the state's budget for the next fiscal year.

The committee included funding for a new dam in its budget proviso that was recently presented for consideration on the House floor.

During a presentation before Greenville County Council's committee of the whole on Tuesday, March 7, Lowry said the state might ask for local stakeholders — like the city and county — to help contribute funds to the repair project, but no formal requests have been made yet.

And while there is a way to go before any money is officially allocated, Lowry said area stakeholders are motivated and hopeful.

"There's abundant positive momentum," Lowry told The Greenville News.

If funding is approved by the state, work could begin as early as September, Lowry said. Kleinschmidt is currently drafting schematics for a new dam, which would take about three years to construct, Lowry said.

He expressed gratitude toward both the legislature and area stakeholders for coming together to create progress.

"This is the year for this project to succeed," Lowry said.

Tim Carlin covers county government, growth and development for The Greenville News. Follow him on Twitter@timcarlin_, and get in touch with him atTCarlin@gannett.com.

Conestee Nature Preserve raising funds for new dam

Greenville, Laurens counties, South Carolina – The Reedy River flows 65 miles from its origins near Travelers Rest, through the popular Falls Park in downtown Greenville and eventually through western Laurens County and into Lake Greenwood. The river and its wetlands are also important to the Conestee Nature Preserve, a non-profit which includes more than 400 acres of trails and wildlife habitat about seven miles south of downtown Greenville.Photos: Tara Brown EdwardsHowever, in addition to numerous trai...

Greenville, Laurens counties, South Carolina – The Reedy River flows 65 miles from its origins near Travelers Rest, through the popular Falls Park in downtown Greenville and eventually through western Laurens County and into Lake Greenwood. The river and its wetlands are also important to the Conestee Nature Preserve, a non-profit which includes more than 400 acres of trails and wildlife habitat about seven miles south of downtown Greenville.

Photos: Tara Brown Edwards

However, in addition to numerous trails, platforms for bird watchers, an adjacent City of Greenville park and dog park, the Conestee property also includes the 130-year-old Lake Conestee Dam, and concerns have resurfaced recently about the environmental damage that could occur if the historic, stone masonry dam fails.

At issue is not the flow of water over the crest of the dam, which occurs occasionally, but rather decades worth of toxins and waste within the sediment at the base of the dam, explained Conestee Nature Preserve Operations Director Erin Knight.

Not a new problem

Built in the late 1880s to early 1890s, the dam quickly became a stopping point for City of Greenville waste and the numerous textile mills built upstream.

This isn’t a new problem, Knight said, and for several years the non-profit board and staff have sought funding while working with engineers and DHEC to develop an affordable solution.

“When Conestee Nature Preserve was founded by a small nonprofit with a vision of preserving wildlife habitat and providing public access to a natural space near the heart of urban Greenville, the organization also inherited a problem of historical contamination and an aging dam,” Knight said in a release issued Friday to The Laurens County Advertiser. “Studies over the years determined that the contaminants pose no threat as long as they, and the newer sediments above them holding them in place, remain undisturbed. That fits perfectly with the mission and vision of Conestee Nature Preserve, but it means the dam must remain in place.”

While Conestee Nature Preserve board and staff members worked to raise funds, they have also met with engineers and DHEC officials who regularly test the water and nearby soils and the dam structure.

The historic dam is one of the few stone masonry structures regulated under the South Carolina Dams and Reservoir Safety Act, explained DHEC Spokesperson Ron Aiken, and DHEC staff are aware of its problems.

“Sampling that was conducted 20 years ago detected the presence of metals, pesticides and, most prevalent, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs) within the sediment at concentrations above EPA levels acceptable for unrestricted use,” Aiken said. “DHEC staff have determined failure of the dam would likely cause interruption of use or service based on a temporary halt in withdrawal of water from drinking water intakes in Lake Greenwood due to the risk of impacts from the contaminated sediments.”

Finding funding

The Conestee Nature Preserve has an agreement with DHEC to maintain the dam to prevent the release of the contaminated sediments, Aiken said; however, DHEC has realized Conestee lacks the resources to carry out this responsibility and has been taking part in meetings with local leaders and elected officials to help Conestee address the needed repairs.

Funds finally came through last summer, when the state’s budget included in its Special Appropriations $3 million for the Conestee Dam Emergency Mitigation for fiscal year 2023. The funds are being managed by DHEC until the time comes that the work can get underway, Knight said.

“With $3 million in hand and a clear plan to secure all necessary funds in 2023, Conestee Nature Preserve has a team of consultants and engineers, a DHEC-appointed trustee and meets regularly with regional stakeholders,” Knight said.

Others in these regular talks include ReWa, which is a neighbor to the Conestee property, officials from Greenville, Greenwood and Laurens counties, DHEC, lead and secondary engineering firms, Duke Energy and Greenville city and county staff.

A project on this scale cannot be completed with $3 million, however, so Knight said meetings continue as the non-profit seeks additional funding through grants, regional stakeholders such as the City of Greenville and Greenville County, corporations and the State of South Carolina.

“Together these should fund the project in full,” Knight said, “and Conestee Nature Preserve is on the verge of resolution.”

Local impact

Locally, Laurens County Water and Sewer Executive Director Jeff Field has been part of some of those talks, and he said he is encouraged that the project has attracted enough attention to begin to bring in funds. While Field has not heard a specific amount, he feels certain that Conestee Nature Preserve board and staff will be able to pull the needed funding from the state and Greenville area stakeholders.

“DHEC has made it a priority and when you have the head state agency start getting the support of elected officials, it brings results,” Field said. “The $3 million was a terrific first step.”

DHEC and EPA have done multiple sediment and dam structure studies and reported that currently the toxic sludge appears to be well encapsulated within the good sediment, Field said, and current testing shows the water downstream near Laurens County is safe. An algae bloom more than 20 years ago resulted in better regulations which have made a difference in the waters entering Lake Greenwood.

“There’s always a lot of eyes on the Reedy and the Saluda, and we have been part of those groups for some time,” Field said. “But because of the urgency of the Conestee Dam, our part in the stakeholders’ meetings have increased. I think it has the momentum to get this done.”

Right now the water in Lake Greenwood is in great shape, Field said, and with about 45 miles between the dam and Lake Greenwood, no one can speculate exactly what the negative impact would be here if the dam were to break.

“We’re all pushing as much as we can for this, and I want to see these dollars committed,” Field said. “I hope this coalition stays together and stays till the end.”

At the Conestee Nature Preserve, Knight agrees.

“Solving problems as complex as this one takes time,” Knight said, “but thanks to all these partners and to much public support, Conestee Nature Preserve is on the verge of resolution.”

This story originally ran Page 1 in the Jan. 25, 2023 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.

SC House, Senate debate funding full replacement of 130-year-old dam holding back toxic chemicals

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. —The South Carolina House and Senate are now debating how much they should contribute to replacing a more than a century-old dam in Greenville County, just barely holding back tons of toxic chemicals.Officials said this is the closest state and local government have ever been to replacing the Conestee Dam.At this point, the South Carolina House has approved the full amount to replace Conestee Dam: $47.5 million. The Senate has approved $30 million. Whatever comes out of conf...

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. —

The South Carolina House and Senate are now debating how much they should contribute to replacing a more than a century-old dam in Greenville County, just barely holding back tons of toxic chemicals.

Officials said this is the closest state and local government have ever been to replacing the Conestee Dam.

At this point, the South Carolina House has approved the full amount to replace Conestee Dam: $47.5 million. The Senate has approved $30 million. Whatever comes out of conference committee in the coming days could mean the difference between a new dam and billions of dollars worth of damage and pollution.

According to Kelly Lowry, the Conestee trustee, the dam has been a source of controversy for years.

"The dam as you see it there is over 130 years old. Its lifespan was probably supposed to be about 50," he said. "So, it's well past its engineered lifespan. And there's a lot of worry that it could fail sometime soon. We don't know. But the consequence of failure would be significant."

Significant as in if it fails, engineering and DHEC studies show it could cause billions of dollars worth of damage and release chemicals like PAHs (cancer-causing chemicals made from burning oil and coal) into Lake Greenwood. The lake is the main source of drinking water for Greenwood and Laurens counties.

Mills and businesses along the river dumped toxic waste into the Reedy River for years before the Clean Water Act. It settled into sediment behind the now-crumbling dam.

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"We could have an earthquake and it could take it out tomorrow," said SC Sen. Billy Garrett.

Garrett has lobbied for this money for years and helped get $3 million to study how to solve the problem last year.

The answer: Replace the dam for $47.5 million.

The House approved that amount. The Senate approved $30 million.

Reporter: "Why 30 million instead of 47.5 million?"

Garrett: "It's a negotiation tool. Again, the machinations that goes on between the House and Senate come budget time, it's like hamburger, you know? It's great when it comes out finally, but while it's being made it's pretty rough to look at."

The conference committee should begin in a week and a half, according to Lowry. If they don't approve the whole amount, the remainder may fall to local stakeholders.

We reached out to the local stakeholders, and at this point, most both up and downstream are still considering.

Greenville County has committed to helping, if need be, but they say the approval process for local funds are much slower than the state.

For now, Lowry says engineers will continue planning. They can break ground after getting permit approval. It should take three years to build.

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