Originally created 08/04/98

State offers $20,000 for storm cleanup



EDGEFIELD -- Edgefield County is set to get $20,000 from the State of South Carolina to cover some of the costs for cleaning up debris left by a string of tornadoes that tore through the county in May.

The storms left one dead and devastated homes, timber and agricultural sites in a line that stretched from Lincoln County, Ga., to Johnston, S.C. Total cost of property damage and loss in South Carolina alone was an estimated $8 million. The cost of cleanup, which should be completed this month, amounted to $33,700.

"Turkey Creek Road still has some debris but we're almost finished," Edgefield County Administrator Wayne Adams said.

For two weeks after the storm, county road crews concentrated on cleanup and for several months thereafter continued the cleanup detail on weekends, Mr. Adams said.

"Members of the county council made an exception to its policy prohibiting county work on private property, especially for the handicapped and the elderly," he said.

The grant, however, does not include money to cover county workers' overtime pay, which amounted to $11,115 for road clearing, sheriff patrols and traffic control. It also does not provide money to help pay the cost of feeding rescue workers and volunteers.

The grant does provide $12,249 toward the cost of removing nearly 300 tons of debris. Much of the debris, Mr. Adams said, was removed to a vacant field, owned by Dick Harper, on Martintown and Garrett Roads near the center of the storm's devastation on Turkey Creek Road.

"Within the next two weeks, we will dispose of the remaining debris in the field through controlled burning," Mr. Adams said. Other expenses covered by the grant include purchase of chain saws and cost of renting wood chippers and the costs of fuel to run the machines.

Mr. Adams said the Edgefield County legislative delegation was "very responsive" to the county's need.

"Senator Tommy Moore initiated the process," Mr. Adams said. "The state opted to take care of its own citizens and the county helped its own people."

He noted that the area did not fit the criteria required by the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Small Business Administration even though some federal officials visited the area twice in the wake of the storms.

For his part, Mr. Moore, whose district covers Edgefield, Aiken and McCormick counties, said he was "frustrated by the federal regulations and felt the state should do what it could to help with the situation. It was a major disaster for these people."