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Project ID: SC3741

Title: Non-point Source Runoff and Water Quality in a Rapidly Growing Urban Watershed

Focus Categories: Non Point Pollution, Water Quality

Keywords: Watershed, organic carbon, dissolved oxygen, pH, nutrients

Start Date: 07/01/2001

End Date: 06/30/2002

Federal Funds: $5,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $10,000

Congressional District: Second

Principal Investigators:
Stefka G. Nikolova Eddins
Research Associate, The University of South Carolina

Douglas F. Williams
Professor, The University of South Carolina


Over the last three decades, population in Richland county has been increasing at a steady rate. As a result, the potential for introduction of non-point source pollution in various county watersheds has been intensifying. Non-point source pollution is a serious problem as it leads to deterioration of water quality, destruction of wetlands and wildlife habitat, and economic losses.

This study will quantify several water quality parameters related to non-point source runoff following rainstorms in the Gills Creek watershed, South Carolina, a highly urbanized water system located in central Richland county. The study will compare the magnitude of nutrient and organic matter contamination from runoff after rain events to historical baseline levels of these pollutants in the watershed, and will evaluate the rate of non-point source pollutant inputs.

The study is important locally and regionally. Gills Creek flows into the Congaree River. Part of the river's flood plain is occupied by the Congaree Swamp National Monument, which is an International Biosphere Reserve. Moreover, Gills Creek runs through the site of a controversial, residential, recreational and business development project. It is logical to expect that if the planned development occurs, then the already poor water quality in the Creek will potentially deteriorate further. Thus, a detailed baseline investigation of the impact of non-point source runoff on this system is necessary to adopt best management practices. Regionally, the study will draw attention to the impacts of urban sprawl and development on water resources. The problems of urban development and sprawl are subject to continuing policy debates. If legislation is to be introduced to address these problems, then studies like the proposed one will be needed.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday June 24, 2004 3:18 PM
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