HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Stormwater Department is working to clear ditches to prevent flooding along county roads.

On Thursday a portion of a drainage ditch near Highway 777 and Highway 554 was cleared.

“We’ve been trying to get easements for about 10 years,” said Thomas Roth, stormwater department manager.

Roth says dirt and tree limbs were blocking up to three feet of water. Since cleared it can move more freely.

“They’ll see some relief instantly, but they’re not going to see the relief they would see if were able to clear this all the way,” said Roth.

The county says its biggest challenge is getting access to private properties, as some owners live out of state and haven’t responded to easement approval.

Others have a problem with property being removed.

“[Some property owners] think it’s a taking of their land. All it is, is a maintenance easement and it allows us to come on your land and clean the ditch. We’ll do that as a permanent or even as a temporary one time. Whatever it takes to get in there and do the work,” said Roth.

The county says stormwater fees cover the cost, but qualified properties are required to be along county roads, with ditches holding public water.

Roth says the department will keep up with inspections every two years and maintain a ditch’s clearing every four years.

Mulching and reseeding will be placed after the project is finished.

The county says more clearing can be done when property owners come together and give permission.

“If the community wants help, we’re there to help, but we’ve got to get the easements to do so and we may not always know who they are,” said Roth.

For more information about if your property qualifies the stormwater department is asking you to call 843-381-8000.