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Pawleys Island: Sewer repair will divert traffic through Town Hall lot

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Work is due to start next week on a project to repair damaged sewer pipes under one of the busiest intersections on Pawleys Island. It will reduce Myrtle Avenue in front of Town Hall to a one-lane road for a couple of weeks.

“There’ll be some inconvenience,” said Tommie Kennedy, engineering director for Georgetown County Water and Sewer District. “We just ask for people’s patience and understanding.”

A section of iron pipe 15 feet below Myrtle Avenue collapsed in May after a high pressure hose was used to clear a blockage in the pipe. Iron pipe was used in the deepest parts of the system and in the shallowest areas when it was built in the late 1980s. A shallow portion of pipe corroded and collapsed near the Pelican Inn earlier this year.

The second pipe collapse occurred in front of Pawleys Pier Village where a temporary bypass pump was installed. The utility also found a shorter section of pipe leading to a pump station had corroded. It tried to insert a plastic pipe to shore up the damaged area. That didn’t work, Kennedy said.

A contractor will start next week digging out the 14-foot section of pipe at the pump station. Pumps will draw down the groundwater and steel bracing will be driven into the ground to support the excavation. That work should take about a week to complete, Kennedy said.

The next stage will replace the pipe along Myrtle Avenue. “The one lane of traffic will be the parking lot in front of Town Hall,” Mayor Bill Otis said. A lane will also be marked for pedestrians.

The contractor will provide traffic control, but the town and the water district are still discussing how traffic will be managed during the nights and, more importantly, the weekends.

Otis said he hopes that steel plates can be placed over the excavation to restore the road to two lanes when work stops. Kennedy said that’s the technique the contractor will use to keep access open to Pawleys Pier Village. The second stage of the project is expected to take two weeks.

This time, thick-walled PVC pipe will be used, Kennedy said.

A check of other sections of iron pipe in the town sewer lines found corrosion near a pump station in the Birds Nest section. It’s also buried deep. Kennedy believes that can be lined with PVC rather than replaced. “It’s a lot cheaper,” he said.

The repairs along Myrtle Avenue are budgeted at $236,000. “It’s an expensive project,” Kennedy said. “It’s all deep.”

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