Environmental Groups Advocate for improved Saluda River Water Quality

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On December 11, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) approved new standards for dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the Saluda River in South Carolina. These standards are supported by environmental groups - including the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League (SCCCL) - that are currently engaged in hydropower relicensing on the Saluda River. These standards await final approval from the DHEC Board, followed by a legislative process that will allow the South Carolina Legislature time to act on the proposed change. Other groups in favor of the standards include American Rivers and the Saluda Scenic River Advisory Council.

Currently, the only regulation of DO levels is a 5-day average. Should the DHEC Board approve the new standards, minimum DO levels will be established. There will be a minimum requirement of 4 milligrams/liter, a minimum daily requirement of 5 milligrams/liter, and a 5.5 milligrams/liter standard for a running 30-day average.

Gerrit Jobsis of SCCCL expressed concern that monitoring the river will be needed to ensure the standards are implemented. Environmental groups are optimistic, however, that these new standards will help contribute to minimizing conditions leading to fish kills and enhanced angling opportunities on the river.

Have a look at the article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune: http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031212/APN/312120569

For more information, email Gerrit Jobsis, Rivers Director at the League.