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July 17, 2017

Update on the Saluda River: Monday, July 17

Columbia, S.C. - Out of an abundance of caution, the swimming advisory for the Saluda River will remain in effect. Results were received today from a sample collected on Sunday, July 16 that shows E.Coli level at the discharge pipe in the river at 8.5 which is below the trigger of 349. The wastewater plant is still in normal operation mode; however, the plant has a large volume of stored wastewater to manage due to the plant upset. Therefore, the swimming advisory will remain in effect. Additional sampling was performed Monday, July 17, and observation of the plant will continue.

Below is a summary of operations over the past several days related to the Friarsgate Wastewater Treatment Plant:

  • On Friday, July 14, CWS called DHEC to let us know about operational problems which had caused a significant bacteria level in the plant effluent. CWS stopped discharging Friday afternoon because they were able to use their onsite storage facilities to redirect plant flow.
  • DHEC visited the site to give oversight and technical assistance throughout the weekend. On both Saturday evening and Sunday morning, the treated wastewater was clear based on DHEC's observation and the plant was operating normally.
  • However, the river sample collected Saturday evening (the results received Sunday) did indicate elevated bacteria which triggered the swimming advisory. It is uncertain as to whether the higher than normal bacteria levels were due to rainfall or other factors. River bacteria sampling was performed on Sunday and those results which were reported Monday indicated that bacteria in the river was below river standards.

DHEC continues to monitor the plant for demonstration of consistent operational performance which will be a determining factor as to when to lift the swimming advisory.


DHEC Media Relations
(803) 898-7769