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Environmental Quality Control (EQC)

Congaree River Sediment Cleanup

The Congaree River begins in Columbia where the Saluda River and Broad River join together. It is bordered on the east by the City of Columbia and on the west by the Cities of Cayce and West Columbia. It flows for approximately 47 miles until it merges with the Wateree River. Congaree National Park is located about halfway down the river’s course.

The Congaree River is a popular area for swimming, canoeing, fishing and other recreational activities. There are two official access points to the river near downtown Columbia. One is on the Cayce side of the river on Old State Road. The other is the Jordan Memorial Boat Ramp located at the west end of Rosewood Drive in Columbia.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed the presence of a tar-like material (TLM) in the sediments and soils of the Congaree River between the Gervais and Blossom Street bridges. DHEC has been overseeing the investigation and assessment of this site since June 2010.

Four cleanup alternatives have been evaluated by DHEC and a preferred cleanup alternative has been selected. Comments will be accepted on the cleanup alternatives through April 22, 2013. DHEC has determined that the water of the Congaree River is safe for recreational use. A potential human health risk only exists from direct skin contact with the TLM and affected sediments and soils. DHEC metal signs remain in place that warn against swimming or wading in the affected area to prevent any potential human exposure.

This DHEC webpage will serve as a central location to inform interested persons about environmental issues related to the Congaree River sediment cleanup. This webpage will be updated as new information becomes available.

View of the Congaree River looking south from the Gervais Street Bridge

View of the Congaree River looking south from the Gervais Street Bridge

For questions or additional information about this webpage, please contact Donna Moye, DHEC Public Participation Coordinator, at (803) 896-4281, or by e-mail at