Congaree Riverkeeper advised Friday night against swimming in the Saluda River near Saluda Shoals Park, one of the most popular swimming spots in the Midlands.
A wastewater discharge from the Friarsgate Wastewater Treatment facility earlier in the week resulted in an increased bacteria level in the water, the Riverkeepers said on their Facebook page.
“As of yesterday the discharge to the river has been stopped, but unsafe water quality conditions may still exist in the Saluda River near Saluda Shoals Park,” the Riverkeeper Facebook post stated.
“River sampling for coliform bacteria was conducted today - results will be available tomorrow,” DHEC said in a statement Saturday evening.
Although results from water sampling in the river won’t be available until Sunday, “this is a serious advisory, there is likely a water quality problem,” Bill Stangler of Congaree Riverkeeper said.
State health officials did not issued a formal swim advisory at Saluda Shoals Park “because there is no longer an active release [from the Carolina Water Service Friarsgate plant]” but urged caution before swimming in the area for anyone with open wounds who “may want to consider avoiding the river water until monitoring results confirm that bacteria levels are below health-based standards.”
“We want for river users to make an informed decision on use of the river,” DHEC said.
Official state swimming advisories are in place closer to downtown Columbia at the Cayce Riverwalk and Granby Park where DHEC warns that swimming in those areas could make you sick.