SC environmental regulators to review Savannah River deepening

Georgia wants to deepen the Savannah River to 47 feet. South Carolina is proposing a maximum depth of 45 feet. (AP Photo/Savannah Morning News/File)

The board of South Carolina’s top environmental agency will meet by telephone Thursday morning to review recommendations for the Savannah River deepening project.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control has scheduled the conference call for 8 a.m., according to a public meeting notice issued late Tuesday night.

Earlier this month a group representing South Carolina’s interests in the river agreed to parameters on the dredging project, saying they would save money and protect wildlife. Among the recommendations approved by the Savannah River Maritime Commission on May 8 is to limit the deepening to 45 feet.

DHEC’s board is being asked to give its final review of the commission’s proposals Thursday.

Georgia has proposed going deeper, to 47 feet. Its goal is to ensure its Port of Savannah can accommodate the huge containerships that are expected to become more common along the East Coast when an expansion the Panama Canal is completed in about three years.

Charleston is seeking to deepen its shipping channel to 50 feet from 45 feet for the same reason.