Lake Greenwood will have watershed protection plan by 2021, LCWSC says

For thousands of Laurens County residents and visitors, Lake Greenwood is the source of endless recreation and quiet reflection. Sometime in 2021, it will become a major water source for the residents of Laurens County and a catalyst for expanding business. It is a safe and secure source, but the question is, how to keep it that way?
To that end, Upstate Forever and the South Carolina Rural Water Association are teaming for a watershed-basin plan for Lake Greenwood. It is promoted on the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission’s website.
There, interested lake residents, and everyone, can find a YouTube link for an introduction meeting and an on-line survey. As the LCWSC board was updated on the plan Aug. 25, there were 1,900 “hits” on the survey through the commission’s website-link.
Commissioner Bill Teague said the plan must consider the upstream source of pollutants - fast-growing Greenville and the Reedy River - but the board was told this plan focuses on what Greenwood and Laurens counties can do to protect Lake Greenwood. Other plans address “upstream,” the board was told.
If a watershed has a preservation plan in-hand, it can become eligible for implementation money from the U.S, EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency).
“It is a roadmap to improve water quality,” said KC Price, engineering manager.
Organizers want to have the plan in place by September, 2021. Some time in that year, LCWSC will bring on-line its massive, $55 million water in-take, treatment and distribution system for Lake Greenwood water throughout the southeastern portion of Laurens County. Major funding is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
LCWSC serves the water and sewer needs of the Joanna community, east of Clinton.
Its Lake Greenwood water will supplement the water it buys from the City of Clinton, Laurens CPW (Lake Rabon), and the Greenville Water System.
It is a growing system that billed 15,225 accounts in July (that time last year, 14,606).
LCWSC is one of the “committed partners” to the protection of Lake Greenwood and its vast watershed, the board was told.
The watershed plan is not designed to be punitive. New laws can emerge to protect the water, but that is not the main goal. The plan is designed for “addressing nutrient, sediment, and bacterial concerns - we rely on input from residents and homeowners in the area and have developed an on-line survey to gather as much information as possible,” the LCWSC website post about the watershed plan and survey says.
The watershed plan uses 9 elements approved by the EPA to create a document designed to guide the water’s future. The survey looks for parcels that can be key in maintaining the water quality. More than 14,000 parcels will be analyzed, the LCWSC board was told.
The commission has a history with watershed plans, as in 2000 the Lake Rabon watershed was shut down for fecal chloroform. By 2016, that order was taken away as the lake was classified as no longer impaired.
“It was a great success story,” Price said.
Citizens can take direct action.
Through SC Adopt-a-Stream, citizens can agree to monitor water quality at their residences and businesses. These are not scientific readings, but the inspections can validate other findings, the board was told. “Keeping the raw water clean helps keep the drinking water clean,” Price said.
A goal of the watershed plan is to identify all septic tanks, the board was told. 
Among its questions, the survey asks Lake Greenwood residents what they consider to be the top threat(s) to water quality, among these:
-- agricultural runoff;
-- chemical spills;
-- industrial waste;
-- invasive species (plants and animals);
-- land development;
-- sedimentation;
-- septic tanks;
-- street runoff (urban-suburban runoff);
-- timber harvesting;
-- trash --- other (check all that apply).
It also asks what people value about the Lake Greenwood Watersheds, from among:
-- biking;
-- clean drinking water;
-- hiking;
-- horseback riding;
-- local parks;
-- local family farms;
-- rural character;
-- water recreation --- other.
There also is a place for additional concerns: “Do you have any concerns with water quality in the Lake Greenwood Watersheds? Are there any problem areas we should be aware of?”
Lake Greenwood covers 10,028 acres in western South Carolina.
 
(Info: for more information about the development of the Lake Greenwood Watershed-Basin Plan, contact Katie Hottel, GIS Coordinator, Upstate Forever, khottel@upstateforever.org  This project was funded wholly or in part by the USEPA under a Capitalization Grant for Drinking Water State Revolving Funds through the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Fujifilm.)

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