Water Quality Monitoring

The Utility initiated a Monitoring Program in June 2007 to implement recommendations in the Beaufort County Stormwater Management Plan.

Beaufort County Stormwater Management Plan (February 2006)

This plan called for monitoring to:

  • Track water quality trends in areas of the county expecting large increases in impervious surfaces (development).  This long-term effort (10 years or longer) will be to determine if the current Best Management Practices (BMP) are protecting our water resources.
  • Establish Baseline Water Quality – Most of the current water quality impairments are due to Stormwater from development that occurred before the County and Municipalities required BMP's on new development.  The Plan identified a number of potential sites to construct regional water quality control facilities.  Sites were identified to monitor water quality to prioritize sites and establish a baseline to compare with monitoring to be done after construction of water quality control facilities. This data will be collected for 2 to 3 years to establish a baseline.
  • Develop Data to Support Water Quality Modeling – The Stormwater Management Plan used a number of models to predict pollutant loading from existing and future development.  It identified monitoring recommendations to validate the planning level modeling.  This data will also be collected for approximately 3 years.
  • Determine Effectiveness of BMP's - Current County requirements specify the BMP and sizes needed to mitigate new development.  These requirements assume a certain level of effectiveness for these BMP's.  One of the most widely used BMP's is wet detention ponds.  The plan recommended monitoring on a rotating basis wet detention ponds in the county.  It is expected this type of monitoring would be for 1 to 2 years and then moved to another pond.

From 2007 - 2015, the county contracted out to fulfill the recommendations in the plan. 

In 2013, Beaufort County awarded a grant to the University of South Carolina Beaufort to establish a water quality lab. Starting in 2015, USCB staff and students provide all sampling and testing services for the county. The USCB lab also provides services to the Town of Bluffton, Town of Hilton Head, City of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal and many private developments and commercial clients. 

The annual reports for each year have been received by the county and are posted for viewing:

Questions on Monitoring can be directed to the Utility at 843-255-2809 or 843-255-2805.