Soil being tested at City Hall
GEORGETOWN S.C. — Could more sinkholes develop in the City of Georgetown that could cause damage to City Hall or the city’s Prince Street fire department?
That is what is expected to be determined by testing taking place that has been required by the city’s insurance provider.
In the past couple of weeks, drilling has been done around City Hall and the Fire Department, according to City Administrator Chris Carter. He said the South Carolina Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund (SMIRF) — an insurance pool for property and casualty lines — mandated the tests because of the voids that were found underneath the water tower next to City Hall.
The tank was drained after the sinkholes developed in the area in 2011.
SMIRF “thought it might be wise to look closer for any issues that might be related to the prior sinkholes in the area,” Carter said.
He said the city has asked that a determination be made which would cover the cost of taking down and re-erecting the water tank capacity in another location.
“SMIRF asked that all potential damages be investigated and aggregated into what would be eventually one claim,” Carter said. “Some buildings, not owned by the city in the general Highway 17 area suffered some settling as well as actual sinkholes which could have occurred as a result of the drainage project construction in the fall of 2011.”
Some of the testing also took place inside City Hall after some loose sanitary base tiles were discovered in the lobby.
“Devices were placed around one of the interior walls to see if unusual settling had occurred. That event, coupled with some door sticking at the Fire Department, led SMIRF to suggest we have floor borings inside, and soil borings around the perimeter of City Hall by a geotechnical firm,” Carter said. “The purpose of the borings was to determine the stability of the underlying soil.”
The work was done by GS2 Engineering of Columbia and the results will be given to Ashley Weatherly, a structural engineer in Myrtle Beach who will make written recommendations regarding the safety or integrity of both buildings.
“This work is covered by the insurance policy between the city and SMIRF,” Carter explained.
By Scott Harper
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