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Columbia wants floodgate installed

The Town of Columbia intends to install a floodgate on Bush Harrell Canal to keep river water from backing up onto nearby properties on Green and Howard streets and Virginia Avenue.

Town manager Rhett White told the board of aldermen Feb. 5 that minor dredging is needed to remove two berms of sand and trash built up in the canal over the past 40-50 years. The berms were easily visible during a recent period of low water.

The bulkhead floodgate will have a vertical wall with movable section that can be raised or lowered by screw to allow water to pass underneath or to stop water flow entirely as part of the town’s storm surge system.

It will be installed in an existing culvert under Columbia Street near the Green Street intersection and the overgrown vacant lot where Bush Harrell’s sawmill once stood.

[Harrell dug the canal so logs could be floated from the Scuppernong River to his sawmill.]

Two town pumps located nearby remove rain water from New Town Ditch, a covered drainway with catch basins on Road and Light streets, Virginia Avenue and Columbia Street.

The proposed floodgate will be designed to prevent river water from backing up into the area and causing useless circular pumping.

White is hopeful the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will grant a minor permit for the work, but he would not speculate as to when the project might get underway.

Estimated cost of the canal clean-out and floodgate installation is $23,000.