News From The River

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

FoRR took to the river on May 23 to monitor four sites (including one new site!) in the Reedy River watershed. We were unable to monitor the Unity Park site (Site #2) this month.

We have re-numbered the sites to better reflect their location in the watershed, with Site #1 now being Swamp Rabbit Cafe, the upstream-most site, and Site #5 now being the Mauldin Road site, which is the downstream-most site monitored by FoRR at this time: 

  • Site #1: Reedy River just downstream of Swamp Rabbit Café 
  • Site #2: Reedy River at Unity Park Auro Bridge - Not monitored in May and not included in analysis
  • Site #3: A small tributary of the Reedy River in Falls Park 
  • Site #4: New site! Reedy River in Cleveland Park near the confluence of Richland Creek with the Reedy River
  • Site #5: Reedy River on Mauldin Road upstream of ReWa's headquarters


The pH results at all sites were consistent with April’s levels with very little change, if any.


May’s air and water temperatures averaged 25.4°C and 22.13°C, respectively. This is a significant increase of nearly 10°C increase for average air temperature and just over 8°C increase for average water temperature compared to our results in April. Air temperatures ranged from 24 to 27°C and water temperatures ranged from 21 to 24°C during May’s sampling outing.


The E. coli bacteria results in May ranged from 100 CFU/100mL at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe site to 567 CFU/100mL at Falls Park. The new Cleveland Park site and Mauldin Road site both produced 400 CFU/100mL. While none of the results breached the “problematic” threshold of 1,000 CFU/100mL, three of the four sites sampled were above the “high” threshold of 349 CFU/100mL. Higher E-coli levels are to be expected in periods of warmer weather since warmer water temperatures provide a habitat that is conducive to bacterial growth. We will continue to keep an eye on these results in coming months to ensure that results stay within the State Standards, and if at any point they rise above the State Standards, will work with local entities to resolve any potential issues. 


May’s dissolved oxygen (DO) results ranged from 6.4 mg/L at Swamp Rabbit Cafe to 7.4 mg/L at Cleveland Park. The Swamp Rabbit Cafe site showed the largest decrease in DO levels, dropping 1.1 mg/L compared to last month. Mauldin Road decreased by 0.7 mg/L. Falls Park increased by 0.2 mg/L, which we can attribute to the slightly higher flow at this site from the upstream outfall pipe. The decreased levels (or only slightly increased, in the case of Falls Park) note a seasonal shift due to the inverse relationship between water temperature and DO: As water temperatures increase, DO levels decrease. DO levels in May were typical for this time of year and still much higher than the SC State Standard average of 5 mg/L.


May’s turbidity levels were all fairly consistent with the results from each sites’ last sampling event, falling within a range of 5 to 6 NTUs. The turbidity levels at Falls Park, Cleveland Park, and Mauldin Road were all 5 NTUs, with Falls Park’s turbidity staying the same as last month and Mauldin Road decreasing by 2. Swamp Rabbit Cafe came in with 6 NTUs in May, up 1 from April. These are all relatively low turbidity readings, meaning that the water was highly transparent (had high levels of clarity) during the May sampling outing.


May’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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