Summer season on the Congaree River ending, river’s high, muddy

It was not that long ago that the Congaree River was filled with tubers, kayaks and canoes. But the temperatures have dropped and another summer season of water recreation is coming to an end.

And if you have noticed, in the last few days, the Congaree River has changed from clear to  muddy. The water level of the river is higher, too.

At times SCE&G opens the flood gates at the Lake Murray Dam and that flow of water raises the Congaree, and results in muddy water. But that is not what is happening now.

Bill Marshall is an environmental scientist and hydroelectric project reviewer for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

He said the storms that moved through the Upstate earlier in the week are the most likely cause for the current state of a brown and swollen Congaree River. The Congaree is downstream of the Broad and Saluda rivers. And the flow from the Broad is affecting the Congaree.

“The water of the Broad River is brown,” said Marshall. And that brown water has washed into the Congaree.

Marshall said Lake Murray acts as a sediment catcher for water flowing into the Lower Saluda River, but there is no filter on the Broad River, and that water flows into the Congaree, bringing the mud and sediment.

Marshall said some of the creeks- like 12 Mile Creek- that wash into the Saluda can bring mud, but he said the water affecting the Congaree presently is from the Broad River.

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