Uncertain future for Saluda River, one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2009

Six months after 'Most Endangered River' listing, outlook is mixed for future of phosphorous pollution

October 20th, 2009

Angela Dicianno, American Rivers, 202-243-7077
Matt Rice, American Rivers, 803-771-7206
John Tynan, Upstate Forever, 864-250-0500

South Carolina – Six months after American Rivers named the Saluda River one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers for 2009, the future of the river’s protection from phosphorous pollution still hangs in the balance.

The Saluda River is still choking from phosphorous pollution from wastewater treatment plants but it has captured the attention of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  Collaboration with legislators, state agencies, wastewater treatment plant owners and operators, and the community at large seems likely to result in meaningful phosphorus limits on the wastewater plants in the Saluda watershed and hopefully all future wastewater permits issued by DHEC. 

Upstate Forever has given eight presentations to concerned citizens with a total attendance of over 600.  The meeting’s organizers, including South Carolina State Representative Mike Pitts, have formed a community-based steering committee that will work across the watershed to secure support for strengthening permit limits for phosphorus and apply pressure to DHEC for such limits. 

Moreover, Upstate Forever has met with the owners or operators of wastewater treatment plants whose permits are up for renewal:  the town of Williamston has committed to remove their wastewater discharge from the Saluda and irrigate farmland with the treated effluent, completely removing their discharge of phosphorus to the river. 

DHEC has not yet issued any permits for the wastewater treatment plants on the Saluda River but has indicated that its permit evaluation will consider phosphorus loads. 

“We want to ensure the Saluda River remains the lifeblood of these communities and doesn’t become a liability that hurts the economy and quality of life,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “This river provides drinking water and recreation for hundreds of thousands of people. Clean water needs to be a top priority.”

To learn more, visit www.AmericanRivers.org/EndangeredRivers

About America’s Most Endangered Rivers™
Each year, the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report highlights the rivers facing the most uncertain futures. The report presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.

The America’s Most Endangered Rivers Report results in thousands of supporters taking action on behalf of their beloved river. Such action produces immediate and tangible results. To see success stories visit www.AmericanRivers.org/MERSuccesses


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About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.org, Facebook.com/AmericanRivers, and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.