Clemson joins county partnership to protect water quality in area

CLEMSON — Clemson University has joined Anderson and Pickens Counties Stormwater Partners, a regional collaborative invested in the protection of South Carolina’s valuable water resources.

As part of joining the partnership, Clemson has applied to become the first university in the state permitted as a small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. By joining approximately 120 South Carolina communities permitted under the program, Clemson will continue to closely monitor its stormwater discharges and will commit to conduct public education and outreach efforts aimed at reducing water pollution.

“This is a major improvement for Clemson University and will allow us to ensure water quality, proper resource stewardship and to better manage costs going forward,” said Brett Dalton, Clemson vice president for finance and operations.

Formed in 2009 through a partnership between Upstate municipalities and counties and Clemson Extension’s Carolina Clear program, Anderson & Pickens Counties Stormwater Partners aims to reduce the pollution transmitted to local waterways by rainfall, snowmelt and excess irrigation. Doing so is a matter of public health and safety as much of the region’s drinking water comes from surface water.

The collaborative educates the general public, youth, builders, developers, homeowners and government officials about how to keep water in the state’s streams, rivers and basins as clean as possible. The university has hired Charly McConnell as an Extension agent to serve as the partnership’s outreach coordinator on campus. Extension agent Cathy Reas Foster is the outreach coordinator in Pickens County, and Rachel Davis is the outreach coordinator for Anderson County.

Anderson and Pickens Counties Stormwater Partners is just one of the regional partnerships Carolina Clear has established to protect South Carolina’s water quality. Five similar partnerships are protecting water resources in the Lowcountry, Grand Strand, Pee Dee, Midlands and Upstate.

In the Upstate, Clemson University joins Anderson and Pickens counties; the cities of Pickens, Easley, Liberty, Anderson and Clemson; and the towns of Belton, Central and Norris in the collaborative.