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Steelworker chief seeks to bring dredging back to Georgetown harbor

GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) – The reopening of a historic Georgetown steel mill next month is sparking conversations in the community about dredging its harbor.

As Liberty Steel Mill announces its reopening, some are wondering about the future of the port.

“Right now you don’t see any activity at all with this port,” said James Sanderson, president of United Steelworkers Local 7898.

Sanderson says he wants the port of Liberty Steel to be dredged because he says it will promote a more diverse economy for Georgetown County.

“The community has already shown how much they support the dredging of the port,” said Sanderson.

Georgetown County voters approved a referendum to help fund the project in 2014.

Since then, a teacher from the Carolina coast and local leaders have started working to develop a solution for conventional dredging. He says sedimentation rates, the rate at which silt begins to build up, are extremely high due to the large amounts of silt floating in the water.

“Within two or three years it will silt completely from an initial water depth of maybe 20 feet to 1 foot,” said Till Hanebuth, associate professor of coastal marine geology at the University. Coastal Carolina.

Hanebuth says there are now a few solutions on the table that need to be tested by a model they’ve created based on their scientific understanding.

“As scientists, we first propose to set up a smart solution, to set up the demand of the steelworks to immediately start using the port once it is dredged,” said Hanebuth. “My hope is that people come together. Everyone in this community should be a part of our community.

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