Why is it hard to grade the Reedy River?
The Reedy, like most rivers, is very different throughout its reach. It starts with spring-fed streams in Travelers Rest. The river then grows in size and velocity as it courses through increasingly urban landscapes through the City of Greenville to Lake Conestee (a current Brownfields site). This reach includes two wastewater treatment plant discharges and two more dams (Cedar Shoals and Boyd's Millpond), ending at Lake Greenwood, where Greenwood and Laurens get their drinking water. Within Lake Greenwood, the Reedy River joins the Saluda River, combining as one of our state’s eight major river basins.
A waterway and its quality mirrors the landscape within which it flows. Not only is the Reedy’s water quality affected by diverse landscapes and inputs along its path, water quality in the river changes dramatically with the weather. Rain events produce runoff which generally degrades water quality, but these impacts are only experienced for a small percentage of the year.
In addition, the State of South Carolina does not have nutrient standards for creeks/rivers. The standards that South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) uses for the Reedy are actually lake standards. Rivers and lakes behave differently, especially when it comes to nutrients.
SC DHEC monitors approximately a dozen stations throughout the Reedy River and its tributaries. Greenville County and the City of Greenville also monitor several sites. Results from these stations show that the Reedy meets many water quality standards but does not meet water quality standards for several other parameters, especially after rain events.
South Carolina is sacred grounds for those who love to explore the outdoors. Increasingly, people want to enjoy the Reedy River and its recreation potential. Water quality and quantity needs to support those who kayak, canoe, fish, and overall enjoy recreational opportunities on the river.
Would you like to help to improve water quality? Take action today!