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Ongoing coverage of South Carolina's recovery from the flooding of 2015.What had been Lindsay Langdale's Columbia home October 3, 2015 was a flooded ruin the next day.This coverage is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In October of 2015, South Carolina received rainfall in unprecedented amounts over just a few days time. By the time the rain began to slacken, the National Weather Service reported that the event had dumped more than two feet of water on the state. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the subsequent flooding was the worst in 75 years.

Volunteers Continue to Clean Up Post-Flood Debris Along Columbia's Gills Creek

Clean-up coordinator Erich Miarka gives instructions to volunteers.
Credit Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio
Clean-up coordinator Erich Miarka gives instructions to volunteers.

  Buddy Wilkes of Lexington says a post on Facebook was the reason he packed his kayak and headed to the Gills Creek area in Richland County. He says, “it said that if you had a kayak to bring it. Well, that piqued my curiosity of how you can use a kayak on a highway clean-up. So I brought my kayak and came down here and this is what I see.”

Standing ankle-deep in Gills Creek, under Rosewood Drive, Wilkes uses his trash stick to pick small debris from the water. He joins a group of about 30 to help clean up what was left by the historic October flood. South Carolina Public Radio’s Thelisha Eaddy has the story.

  Volunteer groups like this one meet on almost a regular basis to do what they can to aid the clean-up process. Erich Miarka is program coordinator for the Gills Creek Watershed Association and has two additional clean-up events scheduled for the next few weeks. He says there is assistance to local governments for what is called “in-stream debris removal” but it may take a while to get that help.

“Unfortunately the city and county haven’t gotten to the point where they’re able to do the in-stream debris removal, yet. So we are still waiting on them to start that process, Miarka said.”