WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
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
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.