Impacts of Erosion Within WatershedsPresented by:Mitch TurnerWater Resource ManagerSJWD Water District
SJWD Water District • Established in 1956 by an act of legislation • Non-profit Organization • Special Purpose District with five Commissioners that are appointed by the Governor of the State Of South Carolina • SJWD originally bought water wholesale from SWS and served the the mill communities of Jackson, Wellford, and Duncan • Now we are the second largest District area wise in the State of South Carolina. We cover 150 square miles, have 600 miles of water mains, 18,000 water meters, and serve a population of roughly 50,000 people • SJWD presently owns and operates five lakes (Apalache, Lyman, Cooley, North Tyger and Berry’s Pond)
Erosion can’t be ignored • In the 1930’s Hugh Hammond Bennett, the father of soil conservation, warned of the evils of soil erosion. • The challenge is not to control erosion but to prevent erosion. • Many conservation practices prevent erosion; however most people often fail to believe erosion is or will be a problem, until the evidence, such as visibly washed-out areas are present. • Once present it is often too late or extremely costly to repair the damage.
Sediment • “Erosion created sediment is the number one pollutant by volume in South Carolina” (Jim Wilson, NRCS District Conservationist in Calhoun County, SC) • When sediment reaches streams, creeks, tributaries, or watercourses, downstream water quality is reduced • Herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are often carried along with eroding soil which contaminate water sources and recreational areas
Negative Effect of Erosion in Watersheds on Water Treatment • Runoff of pollutants into the waterways • Erosion leads to capacity loss of reservoirs • Increased treatment cost associated with higher turbidities such as: (Additional sludge to remove from basins, filters, and eventually the sludge retention lagoons, potential HAAs (Halo Acidic Acids) and THMs (Trihalomethanes) from increased organic loading, potential herbicide, pesticide, oil and fuel contamination, and increased chemical costs for treatment • Intangible costs such as negative health effects of raw water users (recreation)
Some Things to Ponder • No matter where one lives in South Carolina, daily activities contribute to polluted runoff. • Most water pollution in South Carolina comes form polluted runoff, not from wastewater discharge pipes or drains. • Polluted runoff can result in high levels of bacteria, nutrients, excessive sediment, and toxic chemicals. • Polluted runoff harms recreational resources, fisheries, and drinking water sources.
What is polluted runoff? • Runoff pollution, referred to as non-point source pollution, occurs when rain or irrigation water flowing over hard surfaces, or loose soil, picks up pollutants and deposits them in the nearest lake, creek, estuary, or ground water supply.
Where does it come from? • In one way or another we all contribute. What is left on or near the street eventually finds its way to our source water. • Bacteria and nutrients from malfunctioning septic tanks or animal waste, eroded soil from land disturbances, nutrients and pesticides from agricultural sites and urban areas, air pollutants from atmospheric deposition, and heavy metals all diminish water quality.
SJWD’s Approach • We have focused resources on a Watershed Management and Protection Program. This program is composed of: stakeholders that represent the major interests within our watershed, education, and implementation of best management practices to address runoff • Delineate our watersheds • Assess the potential contaminants relative to their distance from the watershed
SJWD’s Approach, cont’d. • Rank the potential contaminants • Implemented BMPs to incorporate into our Policies and Procedures Governing Water Supply Reservoirs • Work in conjunction with groups like Upstate Forever and USC Upstate’s Ecology Center to educate adjoining property owners and others within our drainage basins • Education programs for students through the fourth grade have been developed. • An education program for adjoining property owners and others in the water sheds is being developed.
Tips for reducing runoff • Properly maintain septic systems • Use less toxic cleaners • Bury or flush pet waste • Sweep yard debris from the street • NEVER dispose of paint or solvents in a storm drain • Use plants native to the area, they require less water and fertilizer • Use plants strategically to act as a filter for pollutant removal
Tips for reducing runoff, cont’d. • Keep fertilizers off driveways and walkways • Get active in public awareness programs • Test soil to determine fertilization needs • Compost leaves, grass, and yard waste • Cover bare soil with vegetation or mulch • Never drain oil or automotive fluids into drains • Service your car regularly