Twenty-five Mile Creek Watershed
Watershed Map: Do you live in the watershed?
About the Watershed
Twenty-five Mile Creek is a tributary of the Wateree River, and its watershed includes lands in northeastern Richland, western Kershaw, and southern Fairfield Counties. Much of this area is rural, but the watershed includes urban and suburban areas in and near Blythewood, Elgin and Lugoff. This large watershed encompasses several smaller watersheds including Rice Creek, Bear Creek, Bridge Creek and Beaverdam Creek.
Twenty-five Mile Creek flows into the Wateree River about 8 miles south of Lake Wateree, near the Highway 1 bridge over the Wateree River. The Wateree River joins the Congaree River at Lake Marion. From there, the Santee River carries the water to the Atlantic Ocean.
Do you live in the Twenty-five Mile Creek Watershed? Check the map!
Threats to Water Quality
Periodic monitoring data suggests the stream may experience elevated levels of fecal bacteria and macro-invertebrate community impairments. It was placed on the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC’s) Section 303(d) list in 1998 for violations of fecal bacteria water quality standards, and in 2000 for macroinvertebrate community impairments. A Total Maximum Daily Load was established for fecal bacteria in Twenty-five Mile Creek in 2004.
Working Together for Clean Water
In 2012, Kershaw County received a grant from SC DHEC to develop watershed-based plans for improving the watershed’s quality. These plans, published in 2013, identified several likely sources of water pollution in Twenty-five Mile Creek including failing septic systems, urbanization and development, agriculture, and wildlife. The plans also suggested strategies for improving water quality in the watershed.
Richland County received a grant from SC DHEC in 2014 to begin implementing the watershed-based plans by addressing water quality impacts caused by agriculture and livestock. In 2016, Kershaw County received a grant from SC DHEC to address impacts caused by failing septic systems. Richland and Kershaw Counties partnered with the Richland and Kershaw Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs); US Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS); Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, plc (formerly Amec Foster Wheeler) and other entities to implement these improvements.
Richland SWCD's Role
In 2014, the Richland SWCD began working with watershed partners to install agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) on pastures and cropland. These BMPs were designed to reduce erosion and runoff, to improve soil health and nutrient management, and, as a result, to protect and improve water quality in the Twenty-five Mile Creek Watershed. Learn more about the project goals in this kick-off video!
Thanks to the strong partnership and cooperation between Kershaw and Richland Counties, the Kershaw and Richland SWCDs, USDA-NRCS, and other entities, nine conservation plans were developed for seven livestock operations in the watershed and a number of important BMPs were installed. Three technical workshops were held to educate livestock owners about pasture management and how it impacts water resources; two public meetings (one for all watershed stakeholders and another for septic contractors) were offered; and information about the watershed and water quality was provided in a number of written and electronic formats.
During the final phase of the project, project coordinators were able to expand the scope of the program to include (a) the purchase of a no-till drill and crop roller to encourage better pasture management practices in the watershed, and (b) the provision of financial assistance for residential septic repairs. Five septic repairs were completed during this phase of the project.
Following implementation of the Richland SWCD's project, Kershaw County's project began making funds available to help pay for approved septic repairs / replacements for failing systems in the Twenty-Five Mile Creek Watershed. This program provided 60% cost share assistance to eligible residents. As of June 2018, 20 failing septic systems had been repaired in the watershed.
How will I know if I have a failing septic system? Look for these symptoms:
- After flushing toilets or using the shower, the water is slow to drain
- Water backs up into bath tubs or other drains
- Gurgling sounds from your drains when a toilet is flushed
- There are soggy areas in your yard around your drain field
- Sewage smell
- Areas of your yard have much greener grass than the surrounding area
How do I get assistance?
Unfortunately, funds are not currently available to assist with septic repairs in the Twenty-five Mile Creek Watershed. Assistance with agricultural practices to improve water quality may be available through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service; contact your local District Conservationist for more information.
- Kershaw County District Conservationist - Angel Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-432-4174
- Richland County District Conservationist - Emily Bonilla-Gonzalez, email@example.com or 803-874-3337 ext 3
Success Story: Hollow Creek Watershed (Lexington County)
A similar project has been conducted in the Hollow Creek Watershed of Lexington County. Watch Lexington County's video to learn more about how their project helped landowners protect and improve water quality and herd health.