In order to combat a potential threat posed by boat traffic to flood berms protecting coal ash ponds adjacent to the Waccamaw River near Conway, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Director Alvin Taylor today signed an emergency regulation establishing a “Vessel Exclusionary Zone” on the waters of the Waccamaw River in the vicinity of the Santee-Cooper Generating Station in Conway.
Until rescinded, no vessel or person will be permitted to enter the Vessel Exclusionary Zone. The safety zone covers all navigable waters of the Waccamaw River between US Business Highway 501 and US Highway 501 in Conway, SC., and became effective at 10 a.m. on September 24, 2018.
State and Federal authorities have determined that potential hazards resulting from high waters of the Waccamaw River are present and that continued vessel traffic could degrade flood berms adjacent to the Santee-Cooper ash ponds located near Conway, allowing the coal ash to enter the Waccamaw River system.
The safety zone designation will remain in effect until waters recede and conditions allow for safe navigation without the potential for berm degradation. The purpose and duration of the safety zone is intended to minimize the impact to the Waccamaw River system and to protect personnel and vessels, while the Waccamaw River experiences these high-water conditions. Until rescinded, no vessel or person will be permitted to enter the Vessel Exclusionary Zone.