Sep 25 2007

Graham and Brown applaud passage of WRDA

Bill Authorizes More Than $76 Million for 1st District Projects

WASHINGTON -- Today, Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 which will provide for significant improvements to our nation’s water resources and water infrastructure.  Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Henry E. Brown, Jr., voted with a strong bipartisan majority to pass this critically important legislation.  Brown was a member of the Conference Committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill.  The bill authorizes more than $76 million for infrastructure projects in Charleston and the Grand Strand.


“After many years of work on this bill, I was pleased to see this legislation take another critical step towards becoming law,” said Brown.  “Working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, we were able to work out a compromise plan that both houses can agree to, as well as provide for necessary projects for coastal South Carolina .  Improving infrastructure is not a partisan issue, it is a commitment we as a nation must ensure is met, and I was pleased to see such strong bipartisan support for this bill.  I want to thank Senator Graham for his efforts in support of this legislation.”



“The South Carolina projects authorized in this bill are much needed to promote health, safety, and economic development,” said Graham.  “I appreciate Congressman Brown’s leadership in shepherding these meritorious projects through the House.  There is still much work to be done in the authorization and appropriation process.  We must create a system that allows transparency and reduces the ability of lawmakers to subvert the open process and slip wasteful spending into worthwhile bills.  I am proud of the funding Congressman Brown and I have secured, and ask my colleagues to publicly stand by their projects as well. ”



Included in the Conference Report were several projects sought by local communities to give the Army Corps the tools to improve the environment, conduct critical drainage improvements, and reduce coastal storm damage throughout the Grand Strand and Charleston Regions.  The efforts of Congressman Brown and Senator Graham resulted in increased authorization levels for these projects: 


  • $18 million to accelerate the continued installation of ocean outfalls in Myrtle Beach: As part of the City’s Pavilion Master Plan, an ocean outfall system for Myrtle Beach will retain, clean, and then discharge storm water offshore, replacing the current system, which dumps untreated storm water directly onto the beach.  The City has already invested $15 million into this project.


  • $16 million to continue progress on replacement of the Charleston Wastewater Tunnels: For several years, the Charleston Water System has been conducting a phased replacement of the city’s wastewater carrier tunnels.  These nearly 40-year-old structures lying beneath the city and the harbor were deteriorating at a rapid pace, putting the entire region under the risk of a severe environmental disaster, given that the tunnel system carries over 10 million gallons of wastewater on a daily basis.  While largely financed by the Water System, the federal support authorized in this legislation will assist with efforts to move ahead with Phase II of the project, which involves replacing portions of the Cooper River and Ashley River Tunnels in Downtown Charleston. 


  • $16.44 million to support storm damage reduction and beach renourishment in Pawleys Island Funds authorized under this project will allow for the construction of a 6,800 foot sand berm along the southern reach of Pawleys Island .  This will have a significant impact on reducing future hurricane and storm damage to the surrounding beach and community.  Additionally, the project provides for a 50-year commitment by the Federal government to provide for beach renourishment.


  • $11 million towards efforts by North Myrtle Beach to replace its current stormwater drainage system with a system of ocean outfalls: The ocean outfall system will ensure that swimmers do not come into contact with dangerous bacteria and will assist with efforts to reduce flooding and beach renourishment needs by carrying rainfall runoff to a point offshore.  Federal support for this project follows $12 million in local investment by North Myrtle Beach .


  • $11 million for ocean outfalls projects in Surfside Beach : Included in this authorization is critical support for efforts by the Town of Surfside Beach to replace an existing ocean outfall, including construction of a new headwall and weir.  The replacement of this outfall, along with efforts by the town to expand its existing outfall system, are strategic for ensuring that the Town continues its past history of meeting water quality mandates before they are required. 


  • $4 million to allow the City of Charleston to move forward with the Spring
    Street/Fishburne Street
    Drainage Project
    The Spring Street/Fishburne Street drainage basin encompasses approximately 500 acres, or about twenty percent of the Charleston peninsula and is traversed by U.S. Highway 17, which due to current conditions can be made impassable to passenger vehicles by moderate rainfall.


“A modern and well-functioning infrastructure is a key component to economic development, and serves to protect our health and safety,” said Graham.  “Projects authorized in this bill are critical to protecting the health and well being of people in South Carolina and throughout the country.”


“Each of these projects is critical to protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of the entire region,” said Representative Brown, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House.  “While this bill does not on its own provide funding, it ensures that these projects will be on the list of priorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”