By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Public works department keeping Bryan canals clean
Cana l clearing
A birds eye view of some of the drainage ditches in Bryan County cleared by public works employees in 2019. The department usually tries to clear 5 miles a year. They got 2.5 miles in one month in 2019. Photo provided.

Bryan County’s Public Works Department has been busy with tasks that keep Bryan County safer, cleaner and running smoothly.

At the end of 2019, crews cleaned 2.5 miles of drainage canals in both ends of the county in one month. Typically, the goal is to clean 5 miles of canals in one year, which means expectations have been far exceeded. The county does plan to increase the goal in the coming months, though. New Public Works Director George Allen said the county’s canals, which operate hydraulically, must be kept free-flowing. They are vital to moving water out of residential areas during rainy times and must be kept clear of trees, sediment and other debris that will obstruct the flow of water and potentially cause flooding.

“Our goal is clean our entire canal system once every five years,” Allen said.

Late last year, the department cleared Pembroke Garrard Road Canal, Garrison Canal, Proman Hill Road Canal, Miles Canal and Sheffield Canal in Pembroke. In Richmond Hill, they cleared Oaklevel Road Canal, Marsh Harbor Lane Canal, and Strathy Hall 2 Kelsall Canal.

The work consists of removing vegetation, trees, silt and debris with an excavator, according to Allen. “An excavator has a large bucket on the end of a boom that scoops out and removes this material. We also use a canal or ditch bank mower to cut vegetation along canals,” he said.

Tackling such a monumental project requires a lot of hands on deck. Eight employees worked to clear the 2.5 miles of canals that were just completed. Allen was quick to praise the team for their hard work and expertise.

“The crew that performed this work is Robert Woods (foreman), Willie Parker (heavy equipment operator), George Rushing (haul truck operator), Ed Gwartney (former heavy equipment operator), Tony Paavola, Tony Collier, Ricky Myrick and Carl Lallack (small equipment operators). They always do a great job,” the Public Works Director said.

For more information about Bryan County, visit

Sign up for our E-Newsletters