Columbia Canal Breach: Pooch Screwed

CITY GOVERNMENT BOTCHES BREACH RESPONSE … We’ve written extensively already on the total lack of prioritization displayed by City of Columbia, S.C. leaders in recent years – choosing to fund all manner of wasteful projects while letting vital infrastructure rot. So … how did those leaders respond when their chickens…


We’ve written extensively already on the total lack of prioritization displayed by City of Columbia, S.C. leaders in recent years – choosing to fund all manner of wasteful projects while letting vital infrastructure rot.

So … how did those leaders respond when their chickens came home to roost this week amid the rising waters of “Floodmaggedon?”

Not well …

Late Sunday evening – as the storm was still raging – the Columbia Canal was breached.  The canal provides water for nearly 200,000 people located in the downtown Columbia and Lower Richland regions of the South Carolina Midlands.  Its structural failure severely compromised the city’s water supply – with more than 130,000 customers losing service completely in the aftermath of the breach.

The breach reportedly wasn’t discovered by the city for several hours.  Several additional hours elapsed before an assessment of the situation was conducted.

And when city leaders finally began their “efforts” to close the gaping hole – that’s when the real problems started.

Remember the old expression?  What former U.S. president Ronald Reagan once called the “nine most terrifying words” in the English language?

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

According to a city source familiar with the city’s “emergency response,” leaders were paralyzed by the developing situation – unsure of what to do.  Meanwhile internal power struggles raged regarding who was supposed to be in charge of the project.

“They were there all day Monday setting up a staging area,” our source said.  “(The project) was supposed to start first thing Monday morning.”

The National Guard also had Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters stationed out of McEntire Air National Guard Station on standby – ready to assist in the operation.

The problem?

“City officials kept changing the plan,” our source said.

As we reported earlier this week, National Guard resources finally began to descend on the area midday Tuesday.

By then, though, an entire day had been wasted.  And even after the cavalry arrived, the city leaders couldn’t effectively leverage all the resources brought to bear due to “bureaucratic resistance” and continued discombobulation.  Not only that, the first temporary dam the city erected (belatedly) in an effort to mitigate the impact of the breach actually made matters worse.

The result?  A water crisis.

Eventually, city leaders turned to private sector experts to get a handle on the situation – while employing stopgap measures in an effort to maintain water service.

All of this initiated more than 24 hours after they originally vowed to have the problem resolved …

Now bigger, lingering problems lurk …

“The struggle is as people build back, the demand (for water) is going to come back up,” our source said. “And when that happens, what’s the plan?”

City officials have repeatedly said there is no danger to the water system being shut down.

“The system is running and it’s running strong,” mayor Steve Benjamin told reporters on Thursday.

Benjamin added “there are no plans to shut off the water system – zero plans.”

Okay … but what about the amount of water the system is capable of processing?  What level of reduced capacity are city officials envisioning moving forward?  For how long is the system going to be operating below full output? And how does this reduced capacity impact a city struggling to get back on its feet?

How does it impact hospitals, for example?

Also consider this: Virtually every government agency in the Midlands was shut down all week to reduce water demand.  What happens when those users come back online?

And what happens when the city lifts its “boil water advisory” on more than 400,000 of its citizens?

Oh … and the most important question: What impact did the city’s boneheaded response have on these extended water shortages?

Hmmm …


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Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 10:54 am

Don’t want to bring up memories of Sherman – but if water capacity is significantly reduced – what happens if there’s a large structural fire say on Gervais?

Democrat-WRONG side of history October 9, 2015 at 11:05 am

I’m sure you don’t want to bring up Sherman, because ALL SLAVE OWNERS were Democrats, just like you…And the War started after your Democrat candidate lost in 1860, to a REPUBLICAN, who freed the slaves you were keeping penned up.

And you are much like that in 2016. Will you continue your war on our society when you lose this time?

You have turned from a party that hates Blacks, to a party that now hates whites, because of political expediency.

Do you think if you can Re-Fight the Civil War, you’ll be on the right side of history….when in fact your hatred of Whites is just as STUPID, and mis-guided as your hatred of Blacks, was???

Sic Semper Tyrannis October 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

Babble about nothing. Loser !

R U proud of what you are? October 9, 2015 at 11:18 am

No, it’s not hits you ignorant, backward-ass bastards right in the FACE, with a reality, that you’re never presented with…

And usually, when you see who, and what, you are…even the most stupid, like you, are repulsed by the worthless pieces of shit you are…

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

Not really. It’s just a rant. As usual. Though cudos to you – for not pulling out the fecel thing.

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 11:39 am

Uh, actually I was just refering to fire danger there chief.

Burt October 9, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Are you off your meds again!!!

stumpknocker October 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

marshmellos and scary stories, i’m sure Obama will be the star in all the stories.

STFU... October 9, 2015 at 11:00 am

STFU, you fucking idiot…You’re a fucking worthless asshole.

Speak&Spell-5000S+HD October 9, 2015 at 11:31 am

Radar searching perimeter for intelligent life
…………. NEGATIVE 67ms

stumpknocker October 9, 2015 at 11:33 am

^^^ poster child for turrets ^^^

Slime resurfaces October 9, 2015 at 11:45 am

Why’d you abandon the other thread, after you got the FUCK slapped out of your stupid, liberal ass? LMAO…

stumpknocker October 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm

you can go back fuck slapping your little pp, we all know how you like rough sex

dubluvr October 9, 2015 at 11:01 am


Bible Thumper October 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Hey! I coined Floodgate.

Calm it with the clickbait October 9, 2015 at 11:07 am

my understanding is that the processing portion of the system is unharmed, so the ability to “process” water for consumption is not the issue. The issue is how to get the water from the canal to the processing area. The city has already said the plan is to –

do temp repairs to the canal to restore the ability to withdraw water

bring in some portable pumps to move water directly from the river
transfer water from the Lake Murray plant

I would imaging they would employ all 3 of these solutions to some extent over the next several weeks.

Will people be asked to conserve of the sort term? Maybe, but I doubt it will last more than a couple of weeks.

FITS is typical liberal October 9, 2015 at 11:21 am

FITSNews is like most liberals. They Fear-monger and look for someone to blame (and sue) while ignoring the Truly Dangerous threats to our society, that is mostly THEM…

Terrence October 9, 2015 at 11:31 am

You can’t run hospitals and a university with 30,000 plus students, faculty and staff on intermittent water supply.

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 11:38 am

If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.

Squishy123 October 9, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Nothing like getting turd splash of someone else’s piss on your ass. Fuck that, if I need to use the bathroom I’m flushing it beforehand.

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Point well made. But you know, if you’re living up in Columbia, we all have to pull together.

Joey October 9, 2015 at 11:35 am

I could sure use some of the tuition I paid to USC for a new roof. They should pro-rate this week and reimburse us. Take the city to court for not living up to their fiduciary responsibility -they have enough lawyers on their board of trustees!

Jackie Chiles October 9, 2015 at 11:37 am

Kind of moronic that they’re claiming the water is running strong and there’s no danger of running out while simultaneously telling residents to limit their water use and boil their water.

U R a fucked-up, MoFo October 9, 2015 at 11:43 am

It was a NATURAL Disaster you FUCKING IDIOT. Since you liberal pieces of SHIT do not beleive in God, but worship your lord god-Obama…why are you not praying to him to fix the mess he made, since you see him wit dominion over all?

You problem could not repair yourself out of a broken condom…but you think everybody else is supposed to be perfect in the face of catastrophe.

Turtleneck October 9, 2015 at 11:47 am

So this rainstorm were ‘ the tears of the confederate soldiers’ because we took their flag down?

Jackie Chiles October 9, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Didn’t they build the canal?

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Correct – they did.

oldTVeng October 9, 2015 at 10:15 pm

The poor Irish did to pay for their transport.

Soft Sigh from Hell October 10, 2015 at 11:21 am

They were cheaper than slaves, I once read.

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 11:48 am

Broken condom? I thought it was a broken dike. And not talking about Haley.

ErnestO October 9, 2015 at 11:50 am

Looks to me like Obama is fixing a lot…the Feds ie FEMA, military and other agencies are doing the work and paying for what you ‘ limited government’ types didn’t want to maintain.

Barack "GT's God" Obama October 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

I’ve come to save my follower, GrandTango, from the wrath of mother nature.

Jackie Chiles October 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

From what I could gather from your response, you seem to think I’m mad they haven’t fixed the breach yet. You are incorrect. My point is the Mayor seems to be blatantly lying, hoping we will believe what he says as opposed to our lying eyes.

I don’t understand why he feels the need to lie about the water issue unless he’s covering up some type of incompetence. It would be perfectly reasonable for him to come out and say “hey guys, the canal breached, and we don’t have the ability to process water, so don’t use a lot.”

Tazmaniac October 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Ya know Jackie, you have me wondering if T-bone Shitwater was , albeit ill advised, being told to lie to prevent hoarding? I couldn’t care less about defending him but that could have been the thought process.

Jackie Chiles October 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm

I guess, but why horde water you have to boil to use anyways? Basically all you can use it for is bathing.

Bible Thumper October 9, 2015 at 12:59 pm

And flushing.

easterndumbfuckistan October 9, 2015 at 9:38 pm

At this point it sounds more like damage control to prevent mass panic. People already antsy, more rain is coming this week, it takes forever to get anywhere due to the multiple road issues. I think they are concerned that the water going out completely is going to be the straw that breaks the camels back and starts civil disorder on a massive scale.

Centrist View October 9, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Actually, he’s told the truth when he said, “there are no plans to shut off the water system – zero plans.”

He did not say they would not shut off the water system. He just said there are no plans – zero plans.

Jackie Chiles October 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

lol. Probably will say something like that if it does get cut off. “Well, we didn’t PLAN on it, but hey, it happened.”

WordPlay October 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Lies, damn lies, and Steve Benj Amin. (If you’re too stupid to get the joke, Google Idi Amin… idiots…

Flood of Stupidity October 9, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Help, I’m drowning in the deluge of GrandTango’s idiocy! Someone throw me a rationality preserver!

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 11:49 am

Jackie, kick his @$$.

Lou October 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

And ban water sprinkler systems…

Sally October 9, 2015 at 11:39 am

What nobody is talking about: what will happen when the next rain comes…

Rocky Verdad October 9, 2015 at 11:39 am

We’ll get wet?

scotty October 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

It is amazing Columbia has many outstanding engineering groups and the citizens are presented with guessers at City Hall and relying on the NG to do the work.

Water Works! October 9, 2015 at 11:52 am

As of 11:00am the city has opened the valve under the Blossom St. Bridge that connects the system to Cayce. West Columbia is also transferring water to Columbia by truck.

jimlewisowb October 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm

I don’t understand – prior to “The Flood”, City of Columbia Manager Teresa Wilson was touted for her ability to walk on water. In fact there were several essays left on stall doors around town noting such and also proclaiming the Black Queen should run for Governor

Surely all those years she was a Lobbyist had to provide her with the skill sets to deal with plugging a hole in a fucking dam

Will have to admit watching her on TV proclaiming that nobody should pay any attention to any reports unless they came from her mouth reminded me of another big mouth little action Cockroach at the State level

Tazmaniac October 9, 2015 at 12:30 pm

A lot of politicians are adorned with possessing amazing powers up to the point they fail to show them when they are needed. Our current POTUS is a textbook study in that phenomena.

George October 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm

He has declared SC a major disaster zone and FEMA is working day and night. That’s in marked contrast to SC tea baggers voting against Sandy relief bill.

Tea Bagger Treasurer October 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm

No, this is standard practice for us. You see, we take all of that money meant to maintain infrastructure and prepare for emergencies and spend it elsewhere, or give breaks to the rich, and then when shit hits the fan we take free money from the Feds. Getting welfare is common practice for us, just look at GT and flip, our most active members here!

TroubleBaby October 9, 2015 at 4:31 pm

“Teresa Wilson was touted for her ability to walk on water.”

What you weren’t told was that water has turds floating in it she was stepping on.

Bible Thumper October 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

A lot “WHAT’S” in this article. What if everything works out fine?

Quietus October 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Columbia Fire Department units are currently using tankers to shuttle water from the Rosewood Drive boat landing to the water treatment plant reservoir at 300 Laurel St.

City of Columbia Sucks October 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm

The idiots voted them into office. The idiots get what they deserve. Period.

TroubleBaby October 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm

“The National Guard also had Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters stationed out of McEntire Air National Guard Station on standby – ready to assist in the operation.”

The cynic inside me when I first heard that a Chinook was coming in to help thought, “What the fuck do they need a Chinook for? A simply crane couldn’t be enough? Someone wants to use their fuckin’ toy for once.”

As I’ve said before, just when I think I’m too cynical I then learn I’m not cynical enough. (some comedian said that too)

Quit Being An Ass October 9, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Cranes need solid ground to operate, not soil saturated by flood waters. Cranes are also a pain in the ass to move around when they have to be positioned differently.

We pay millions to have helicopters, at least they’re using them for something other than war.

TroubleBaby October 9, 2015 at 3:39 pm

“We pay millions to have helicopters, at least they’re using them for something other than war.”

Well then, it would seem the least someone could do is actually use them when they show up. Maybe someone was chomping on the bit.

Squishy123 October 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm

If helicopters were needed, Blackhawks would have been plenty. This was like using a tractor trailer to pull a garden trailer.

TroubleBaby October 10, 2015 at 5:11 pm

You know, you bring up a good point. I’d really like to know why a Chinook was required, & what it costs to fly in such a helicopter per hour and use it for canal repair.

I think the poster that responded made a reasonable point about soaked ground, but then again part of me wonders if crane companies don’t already know how to deal with that.In other words, I rarely see construction crews contracting for lift helicopters over cranes….so I can only assume there’s a dramatic cost difference.

I’m not a structural engineer, but I can use common sense based on what people argue/tell me.

I am experienced in managing projects of a technical nature, so I’m not compete idiot, just a semi-idiot that can listen and reason.

TroubleBaby October 10, 2015 at 9:06 pm

So I had some time and found this:

Not only was it reported the first sortie from the Chinook resulted in an excavator too heavy to lift(which is a sad statement on the expertise of both the Guard & the owners of the excavators…how tough is it to get an accurate weight BEFORE you send out the taxpayer funded money vortex?), but look at where they put it(picture 4)….they could have craned it over from PAVEMENT and assuredly wouldn’t have had to disassemble it first….lol

So much for the “need solid ground to operate” theory “ass” posted.

A Little Birdie Told Me October 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Just wait until you hear (or more likely read) just WHY the canal dike was overtopped and failed.

EvenMoreAsstounded October 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Do not expect the boil order to be lifted for weeks. Because our citizens are so poorly educated, (A local station is teaching people how to Boil Water!… Turn your burner up to high…) expect them to get lazy. Then expect them to Get Sick. Cholera anyone… Hold at least some of your criticism of Mayor Amin until then, and after.

Asstounded October 9, 2015 at 9:40 pm

I suspect Coulmbia city hospitals are quietly reducing their patient populations as fast as they can.

Louie Bouy October 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Why didn’t Sherman destroy our now 191 year old canal when he marched through Columbia in 1865. Perhaps FEMA can force Columbia to put the canal out of its misery once and for all? But please do not allow it to be repaired/rebuilt/used for a water source!


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