Stormwater Department Activities to Protect our Streams
The Savannah River in North Augusta, our drinking water resource.
Protecting the city's natural resources is vital to our economy and community. The Engineering, Stormwater and Streets & Drains Department staff conduct the following activities routinely to identify and eliminate pollution in the community:
- Inspecting city-owned storm drains, pipes, street drains, ditches, ponds, and their outfalls (combined this is called "stormwater infrastructure") at streams or the river so that they are working properly and to identify and eliminate unauthorized connections or discharges to them.
- Mapping stormwater infrastructure with GPS equipment (historically stormwater infrastructure was the only system in communities where maps were not generated). Since 2006 in SC, it is a state and federal requirement under the small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (small MS4 permit) program (page 21).
- Conducting inspections of private stormwater systems and ponds at commercial establishments (stores, restaurants, shopping centers, banks, schools, etc.). Stormwater staff then provide provide owners with our findings and give them a time-line to repair or eliminate problems that are impacting our waterways.
- Conducting water monitoring in our streams to track down problems, learn more by reading the North Augusta Water Quality Baseline Assessment.
- Walking down our streams and creeks to identify unauthorized discharges to them.
- Conducting special studies in certain priority areas to determine what needs to be done to improve water quality.
- Prioritizing our drainage basins (or sub-basins) and working together to guide development with water quality in mind during the development planning process to determine whether the drainage basin is at risk (see the North Augusta Baseline Water Quality Report above). If so, developers would need to rely on techniques described in the North Augusta Water Quality Manual to alleviate potential further impacts during construction and post construction.
- Responding to citizens that alert us to problems by inspecting, identifying and eliminating unauthorized discharges in neighborhoods.
In addition to these on-the-ground activities to protect our natural resources, there are city, state and federal regulations providing natural resource protection for our community. Locally, the North Augusta Planning Department, City Council and Planning Commission drafted and adopted the North Augusta Comprehensive Plan in 2005 to help identify and protect our natural resources. The commission devoted a full chapter of the plan to our ecosystems in the section entitled Natural Resources. From the plan, the City Development Code
What are the city's natural resources?
Scroll down to learn more about our watershed, the Savannah River, its basins and sub-basins located in North Augusta.
Watersheds, Basins, Streams, Creeks, Rivers & Ponds
What is a watershed?
A watershed or drainage basin is an area of land where water drains to a common waterway such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, river, or even ocean. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross local, state and national boundaries. No matter where you are, you’re in a watershed!
Watersheds are made up networks of different types of conveyances for water. Watersheds can be looked at from a state wide basis or they can be looked at more closely by county or city. When looking at a watershed on a smaller scale, they can be divided into “drainage basins” or "sub-watersheds".
To fully understand North Augusta’s strategy and the development of our watershed and basins, it helps to understand how South Carolina’s watersheds are identified.
Scroll down to see a map of South Carolina and its watershed.
South Carolina State Watersheds & Basins
Find the Savannah River Basin on the state map showing South Carolina's eight (8) basins.
Features within a drainage basin or sub-watershed.
Each watershed is made up of drainage basins that contain different types of streams. Perennial, intermittent or ephemeral streams generally lead to a main branch or receiving water at the lowest point in a watershed or drainage basin. All rainwater that falls, drains to the lowest point in an area (including underground).
- Perennial streams are identified by well defined banks and natural channels that have continuously flowing water year round.
- Intermittent streams have well defined banks and natural channels that typically have flowing water from a headwater source for only a portion of the year.
- Ephemeral streams do not have well defined channels and flow only in response to rainfall.
- Groundwater seeps: groundwater routinely seeps up to the surface throughout the community. The water makes up a lot of the headwater sources of streams. Groundwater will flow much more heavily during wetter periods of time. Other times, during dry conditions, the water will disappear.
Savannah River Basin
North Augusta falls within the Savannah River Basin which incorporates 35 watersheds and some 2.9 million acres within South Carolina (portions of the basin are located in North Carolina and Georgia). The Savannah River Basin is divided into three regions: the Tugaloo/Seneca, the Upper Savannah and the Lower Savannah. North Augusta is located mostly within the Lower Savannah River Basin.
Facts about the "Lower Savannah River" Basin
|Geographic Regions:||Piedmont to Sandhills to Upper and Lower Coastal Plains and on to the Coastal Zone|
Note: Federal lands, such as the Savannah River Site and the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge, form a sizable portion of this basin.
Drainage/Sub-Basins located in North Augusta
North Augusta is further divided into drainage basins/sub-basins. The sub-basins are determined by topography (terrain or hills and valleys that are located within the area) where rain falls. Each sub-basin has its own streams, creeks, ponds, and drainage systems (storm sewers). All of these features drain out of the sub-basin into the Savannah River or another sub-basin. The sub-basin maps are below. Map 1 is the basin names and locations, and Map 2 shows the physical or (topographic) features within each sub-basin.
North Augusta Sub-watershed Basins (Map 1)
Descriptions of Sub-Basins in North Augusta
Which sub-basin do you live in?
Fox Creek Basin – This basin is located at the edge of the city near the Edgefield County line. All creeks and streams that flow into Gregory Lake located on Gregory Lake Road are part of the Fox Creek Basin. Most of this area is outside the city limits. The basin does converge with Pole Branch basin within the city limits. The basin is sampled at the location just prior to its convergence with Pole Branch. Once the two basins meet, water is carried directly to the Savannah River along the undeveloped portion of Bergen Road (formerly Frontage Road) that heads towards the Savannah River.
Pole Branch Basin – This basin is one of the city’s largest basins. The basin encompasses lands along Highway 25 at I-20, to Arbor Place off of Walnut Lane, Bergen Road and its communities, through Belvedere to Five Notch Road at the I-20, Knobcone Avenue. It includes a large area below Edgewood Heights subdivision, the North Augusta High School and then all the way to I-20 at Martintown Road. All creeks and streams located in the area converge into Pole Branch and it then crosses I-20 on Bergen Road and converges with Fox Creek below Martintown Road.
Crystal Lake Basin – The Crystal Lake basin is located in the area of the city that encompasses areas of Jackson Avenue, Mokateen, Crystal Lake Drive, Forest and Lake Avenues, lower West Avenue from Sno Cap and below, Bluff and Cumberland Avenues and Crystal Lake. The large drainage depression located near Woodlawn Avenue accepts stormwater from the streets stormwater pipes in the basin. The water flows from these areas across Buena Vista Avenue along Crystal Lake Drive to Crystal Creek. It travels through the basin until it reaches the Savannah River at the end of Savannah Point Drive. The sample point is at that location.
Pretty Run Basin – The Pretty Run Basin is a large basin that drains older neighborhoods such as Lynnhurst, the Greeneway Trail along Bolin Road, Knollwood and Waccamaw Streets, Marion Avenue and portions of Knox Ave to lower Bradleyville Road and Georgia Avenue near McDonald's. Most of the area east of Five Notch Road is included until you reach Knollwood. In addition to these upper portions of the stream sub basin, residential areas including The Rapids, Heron Cove and other areas along Martintown Road near the Greeneway Trail are drained to Pretty Run.
The main branch of this basin is Pretty Run Creek. The stream is polluted with excess bacteria. This has resulted in it being the city's only state designated Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) stream. This makes the subwatershed a priority for the city. The TMDL sample location is within the Rapids Subdivision just before the stream enters the Savannah River.
The state and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the Pretty Run TMDL as a road-map to limit bacteria. The city implemented a TMDL Monitoring and Assessment Plan for Pretty Run Creek in 2015 and completed the assessment in 2018. Results from the monitoring helped to determine that the source of the bacteria is mostly animals that use the natural areas> The birds, deer, racoons, squirrels, and other wildlife have been concentrated along the streams and natural areas that have been protected from development. We are working on ways to improve water quality in the stream.
River Bluff – This basin is the area just below the ridge of the Savannah Bluffs Heritage Preserve trails near Old Plantation Road. The basin collects stormwater from the Savannah Barony subdivision and parts of The Rapids and Herron Cove area where the land ridge slopes back toward this basin. The city monitors this basin at the end of Shoals Way Court just before the stream enters Savannah River.
Storm Branch – This basin once drained all stormwater to the area located near the bottom of Belvedere Ridge where a closed wastewater treatment lagoon once operated. Since the closure of the lagoon, the basin drainage area does not flow and the creek associated with it is dry most of the year. Stormwater filters into the old lagoon beds that are fully vegetated large depressions. Although the ditch is dry most of the time, the sample point for this area is located on Powerhouse Road. It is checked for flow during routine monitoring.
Womrath Basin – This basin includes the area located from the junction of Knox Avenue and Old Edgefield Road back to Carolina Springs/Womrath Road. The water flows from these areas and then crosses Old Aiken Road and beyond until it crosses US 1/78 (Aiken/Augusta Highway). From there the unnamed creek empties into wetlands located adjacent to Horse Creek. This basin is sampled at the TTX Plant located off of Hamburg Road.
Horse Creek Basin – Horse Creek is a major stream in the Middle Savannah Watershed. The city borders the stream from Atomic Road all the way to Savannah River. Wetlands and their associated streams below the railroad track below Revco Road empty to Horse Creek along this stretch of the stream. The sample point for Horse Creek is located at the end of the stream adjacent to Horse Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Horse Creek is nearly 96% located in the upper regions of Aiken County so the city has little to no impact on this stream. It is also a stream listed as impaired for bacteria with a TMDL was approved Horse Creek.
Waterworks Basin – The Waterworks Basin is a very large basin in the city that handles tremendous flows during rain events. The basin drains the areas from Knox Avenue including Kroger & Lowes, Walmart, the Belks, Publix, Lidl & Big Lots Shopping Centers, Summerfield Park, Edgefield Heights, and Atomic Road businesses. Much of this water flows through Edenfield Park until it converges beside the Public Safety Complex to the primary basin stream along Riverside Boulevard and then through The River Golf Course and its pond system to the river. The basin is sampled at Shoreline Drive just before it empties to the Savannah River. The basin stormwater system has been updated to prevent historical flooding on Buena Vista Ave.
Hamburg Basin – This basin includes the lower reaches of the city near River North subdivision. All of the wetlands and associated creeks and streams located in the area from the Augusta Concrete Plant to I-520 (Palmetto Parkway) are included.
Mims Branch – The Mims Branch sub basin drains a large undeveloped area located along Highway 520 from Ascauga Lake Road to Blanchard Road and is bordered by Old Sudlow Lake Road. It is the only basin in the city that is nearly 100% undeveloped. The basin is sampled at Old Sudlow Lake Road where it leaves the city. At the present time, this basin is considered a “representative basin” since it is in a relatively undeveloped area and is not impacted by industrial or residential use. The basin is being sampled in several locations to capture valuable data while it remains undeveloped.
Riverview Basin -- This basin is small and incorporates drainage from the San Salvadore and Fairfield Avenue area. The discharge is located in a deep ravine leading to the Savannah River near Riverview Park. Future studies are planned for this basin.
Hammond Hills Basin – The Hammond Hills Basin is located in the Hammond Hills subdivision and incorporates stormwater that flows from Stanton to Bunting Drives near Hammond Hill Elementary School and also from some of the drainage from Campbellton Drive and its associated streets. This basin is unique in that it has several features that make it a much more difficult basin to study. One of these is the stormwater infrastructure in this older community. It was developed as a series of pipes that discharge in to earthen or sometimes lined ditches located behind homes. These ditches discharge to creeks that leave the basin in several locations. A second feature is that this basin is located high on the bluffs above the Savannah River and the terrain is steep and in some places not accessible. The basin is being sampled in two locations off of Stanton Drive. One is the ditch at Merriwether and Stanton Drives, the other is the ditch near Hammond and Stanton Drives.
Arrow Wood Basin -- This is a relatively small basin that is not being evaluated since the basin drains to a relatively large pond prior to entering the Savannah River. This pond collects water from storms and will act as a treatment process. This process allows pollutants to settle out of the water through several means (aquatic vegetation use excess nutrients, pollutant deposition or settling into the sediments, and evaporation) prior to it flowing into the Savannah River.
To learn more about the Savannah River Basin Water Quality, look for the SCDHEC's Savannah River Basin Watershed Water Quality Assessment.
For more information please contact:Tanya Strickland, Stormwater Superintendent, SWMD
Second (2nd) Floor Engineering Department, City Municipal Center
100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, SC 29861
Phone: 803 441-4246