Watershed Improvement Summary
                   Reducing Bacterial Contamination in Lower Horse Creek Watershed
  Watershed Description

The Lower Horse Creek Watershed is historically signifi-
cant within the southeast, hosting several communities in
Horse Creek Valley that flourished as the region became
home to the first large cotton mills in the southeast, begin-
ning in Graniteville in 1845.  By the turn of the century,
these waters adopted a wintering class of well-to-do north-
erners and horse riding and golfing became staples.  All of
the region's cotton mills are now closed, and their adopted
mill towns struggle to maintain sewer collection systems.
In addition, significant new development pressures are
occurring as the suburbs of Augusta, Georgia and North
Augusta, South Carolina encroach on pastures and
wooded portions of Little and Lower Horse Creek wa-
tersheds.

Problem
                                                          Horse Creek at the SV-250 monitoring site
                                                            Horse Creek Watershed
                                                          Click Here to Enlarge Map
The watershed approach is being applied in a cluster of
watersheds within the South Carolina side of the Middle
Savannah River Basin. Primary efforts are targeting the
Lower Horse Creek watershed with additional mainte-
nance efforts in Little Horse Creek watershed, as well as
restoration efforts that are beginning in the Middle Horse
Creek watershed.
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) list of
impaired waters (303d list), water quality stations in
 Little, Middle, and Lower Horse Creek watersheds did not meet water quality standards for human
contact recreation.

                                               Suzanne Holmes
                                               Clemson Extension-Aiken County
                                               Phone: (803) 649-6927 ext. 116
                                               Email: sbholme@clemson.edu

                                               Gina Kirkland, SCDHEC
                                               Bureau  of Water Pollution Control
                                               Phone:(803) 7345153
                                               Email: kirklagl@colum35.dhec.state.sc.us

                                               Craig Hesterlee, USEPA Region 4
                                               Phone:  (404)562-9749
                                               Email: hesterlee.craig@epa.gov
 An abandoned mill drains towards Horse Creek Watershed

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  Project Highlights
An EPA grant (104b3 grant) to develop pollution allocation plans (TMDLs) was recently implemented
by SCDHEC. SDHEC has developed TMDLs that are within this watershed.  SCDHEC (especially the
Savannah River Basin Manager) has taken a lead role in the restoration planning process. SCDHEC field
personnel have been readily characterizing local sources of pollution and mitigating sanitary sewer over-
flows.  SCDHEC regional field office personnel detected at least 5 significant sanitary sewer overflows
that were likely impacting fecal coliform concentrations at stations SV-072 and SV-250 (See Exhibit 1,
Next Page) in Horse Creek. An additional 104b3 study was conducted by the Southeast Natural Sci-
ences Academy, a non-profit local collaborator.  As a part of this grant, this organization conducted in-
tensive monitoring for pathogens in Horse Creek under a wide variety of hydrologic conditions to bol-
ster ongoing State monitoring. Local governments (City of North Augusta and Aiken County) also have
assumed key roles through stormwater management activities.

 An EPA non-point source grant (319 grant) has been issued through SCDHEC to Clemson University
Extension Service to lead efforts to mitigate non-point sources of pollution. The watershed approach is
being applied in conjunction with this grant to help identify and mitigate pathogen sources and to man-
age and control significant growth and land-use change. Significant public outreach components of the
grant are  anticipated to bolster the watershed approach as local stormwater managers will work closely
with regulatory and voluntary entities to manage water quality, sustain water quality improvement, and
promote sustainable development within rapidly urbanizing portions of the watersheds. Local govern-
ments frequently collaborate to address pathogen sources.  Significant public outreach and involvement
through the MS4 requirements as well as 319 grant implementation will build sustainability into the wa-
tershed restoration approach underway in this basin.

Results

An example of watershed improvement: before 2001, there appeared to be less emphasis on collabora-
tion and SSO detection. Statistical methods demonstrate, with a 95% confidence interval, that the me-
dian log fecal coliform values at station SV-250 have decreased by a factor of-4.5 since 2001 began.
(see Figure on next page) This infers that the public is, on average, almost five times  less likely to be
exposed to concentrations of fecal coliform that may indicate unacceptable risk of exposure to disease-
bearing bacteria. Similar improvement is noted at the other impaired monitoring station in Horse
Creek's Lower Horse Creek watershed.
Note: These results represent a watershed-wide improvement for one 12 digit Hydrologic Unit
Code (Lower Horse Creek) as designated by the US Geological Survey.

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  Exhibit 1.
                            Horse Creek - SV-250
        1300
J
      o
      s
         1200 -
          01/01/99  01/01/00  12/31/00  12/31/01  12/31/02  12/31/03  12/30/04  12/30/05  12/30/06
           00:00    00:00    00:00    00:00    00:00    00:00    00:00    00:00    00:00

                                        Date-Time
Partners and Funding


South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (EQC Field Office)-
SSO Mitigation

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control- Received and EPA 104(b)
3 grant to develop pollution allocation plans (TMDLs)

Southeast Natural Sciences Academy-Conducted a study on Pathogens in Horse Creek under a
wide variety of hydrologic conditions to bolster ongoing state monitoring

City of North Augusta and Aiken County-Implementation of Stormwater Management

Clem son University Extension Service- Received an EPA Non Point Source Grant issued
through SCDHEC to lead efforts to mitigate non-point sources of pollution via TMDL implemen-
tation
                                       Watershed Management Office
                                              U.S. EPA, Region 4
                                            61 Forsyth Street, SW
                                           Atlanta, Georgia 30303

                                 http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/watersheds/index.html

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