News From The River

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

FoRR took to the river on June 11 and 16 to monitor at five sites in the Reedy River watershed! Our sites include the following:

  • Site #1: Reedy River along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, downstream of Swamp Rabbit Cafe
  • Site #2: A small tributary of the Reedy River in Falls Park 
  • Site #3: Reedy River behind the ReWa headquarters (near our new office!)
  • Site #4: A tributary on Greenville Tech's Brashier campus in Simpsonville
  • Site #5: A tributary in Cedar Falls Park in Simpsonville

The pH results for July were consistent with last month's findings.

Conductivity results varied slightly at all sites. The Cedar Falls location's result of 240 µS/cm showed the largest variation with a 50 µS/cm increase from July's count of 190 µS/cm.

The Cedar Falls sampling site is located downstream of a dam. The large increase in conductivity was coupled with much muddier, turbid water conditions, despite the recent lack of rain and low water levels. Upon further investigation, our team member Bill Harclerode deduced that the altered conductivity and physical characteristics of the stream during his July sampling event were caused by the release of the impounded water that is usually held behind the dam.

The pond was about 8 feet lower than normal, exposing muddy stream banks far upstream from which sediment was being swept downstream by the altered flow pattern. Bill reached out to local officials to ensure that this was a planned release of water, not a dam breach. He learned that the agency that owns the dam and impounded area let the water to flow through the dam during low-precipitation periods to allow continuous flow downstream rather than keeping the pond full and only allowing downstream flow when the water level reaches the "overflow" outfall pipe level. Thanks to our teammate, Bill, for this information!

The dissolved oxygen (DO) levels decreased at all of our Greenville sites, but had very slight increases at the Greenville Tech and Cedar Falls sites in Simpsonville (0.2 mg/L and 0.6 mg/L, respectively), likely due to minor natural fluctuations. The decreased levels at the Greenville sites can still be explained by the very warm air temperatures that raise the water temperature.

As water temperatures remain high, DO levels will remain low and may even continue to decrease throughout the warmer months until cooler temperatures return. Dissolved Oxygen and temperature have an inverse relationship: the warmer the temperature, the lower the water's capacity to hold DO!

E. coli bacteria results increased significantly at most sites this month, except for Greenville Tech Brashier. This can likely be attributed to the hot temperatures, which allow bacteria to thrive and multiply at high rates, and due to the lower water levels observed this month. Because of the lack of consistent rains, water levels in most streams were noticeably lower than usual, which can lead to an increased concentration of bacteria and nutrients in the remaining water. None of our E. coli counts this month exceeded the "problematic" threshold and the site with the highest bacteria count was ReWa, which reached 500 CFU/100mL.

We have included this month's results along with SC's state standards for comparison below. All results were within state standards.

Data from July 2022:

  • 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.
  • Conductivity is the ability of the water to pass an electric charge and shows the presence of ions in the water, such as salt, nitrate, phosphate, and many others. The bedrock in the watershed can also affect conductivity
  • 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!





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