News From The River

See the Latest Water Quality Monitoring Data from the FoRR Monitoring Team!

FoRR took to the river on April 8 and April 22 (Earth Day!) to monitor four sites in the Reedy River watershed:

Site #1: Reedy River just downstream of Swamp Rabbit Café (SRC)

Site #2: A small tributary of the Reedy River in Falls Park 

Site #3: Reedy River on Mauldin Road upstream of ReWa's headquarters

Site #4: Reedy River at Unity Park Auro Bridge

Sites 1 through 3 were monitored on April 22. Site 4 was monitored on April 8. Data comparisons this month for sites 1-3 will be compared to February's monitoring results as poor weather and heavy rains prohibited the FoRR Monitoring Team from sampling sites 1-3 in March. Data comparisons for site 4 (Unity Park) will be compared to data collected in March.

The pH results at all sites were consistent with levels during the last round of sampling with very little change, if any.

April’s air and water temperatures averaged 15.75°C and 13.75°C, respectively. The air temperatures increased significantly since the February sampling event for sites 1-3, and increased by only 1°C at site 4 (Unity Park) which was sampled in March. The water temperature at all sites increased by 2.5-3°C since their last sample dates. 

The E. coli bacteria results from April’s sampling events at the SRC and Mauldin Road sites both increased from February’s E. coli counts, likely due to half-inch of rain that fell within the 24 hours prior to sampling in April and the increased water and air temperatures. The Falls Park site likely did not see the same E. coli level increase as it is on a small tributary to the Reedy rather than on the Reedy itself, and as a result, is not as heavily impacted by runoff from the full Reedy drainage basin. We do not have E. coli level results for the Unity Park site in March for comparison, but the levels in April were slightly lower (33 CFU/100mL lower) than the result from February. We expect to see E. coli levels maintain slightly higher levels as the temperatures stay warm and continue to increase due to the relationship between E. coli bacteria and water temperature: The warmer the water, the higher the potential for bacterial growth.

April’s dissolved oxygen (DO) results at all sites decreased from the last sampling event. April’s average DO level was 7.30 mg/L compared to February’s average of 8.66 mg/L. This decrease is expected due to seasonal changes in water temperature and the inverse relationship between DO and water temperature: As water temperature increases, DO levels decrease. DO levels this month ranged from 6.8 mg/L (Falls Park) to  7.8 mg/L (Unity Park). DO levels this month were typical for this time of year and much higher than the SC State Standard average of 5 mg/L.

April’s turbidity levels were all relatively consistent with the results from each sites’ last sampling event, falling within a range of 5 - 7 NTUs. The turbidity level at Unity Park was very low at only 5 NTUs. This is the lowest turbidity we’ve found at this site since we began reporting the data for that location in January 2024. The highest turbidity level in our April sampling events was only 7 NTUs, which is a low level of turbidity, meaning that the water was still very clear, despite the recent rains prior to sampling. 

April’s results and the SC state standards are included for comparison below. All results were within SC state standards. 

  • pH is a way of measuring the H+ ions in a water sample, or if the sample is acidic or basic. pH is influenced by the concentration of acids in rain, and the types of soils and bedrock present in the watershed. Ideally, rivers will have a neutral pH, or a value of 7.
  • The available dissolved oxygen (DO) in a water sample is important for fish health and life within a body of water. DO can increase in lower temperatures, turbulence in the water, photosynthesis in the stream, and diffusion from the atmosphere. DO can decrease in higher temperatures, in slow-moving and deep water, and in the presence of decaying organic matter.
  • E. coli Bacteria counts are found by incubating a water sample that was placed on a medium, then counting the number of coliform forming units. These values are higher in areas where animals are present so always remember to pick up after your pets and don't feed the geese in the park!
  • Turbidity, the cloudiness of water, is quantified with the unit of measurement “NTU,” which stands for “Nephelometric Turbidity Units”. Low NTU readings indicate clearer water and high readings indicate very turbid, or cloudy, water. NTU readings typically range from 1 to 4,000, with 1 being clear water and 4,000 having very little transparency and high turbidity (think of the cloudiness of milk). 

Sign up to join the FoRR monitoring team HERE!

Find an SC Adopt-a-Stream event near you to become certified HERE!

The FoRR Monitoring Team uses SC Adopt-a-Stream techniques and has its own monitoring kits, thanks to Ivy Salon and The Greenville Zoo Conservation Fund.

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