The Congaree River begins in Columbia where the Saluda River and Broad River join together. It is bordered on the east by the City of Columbia and on the west by the Cities of Cayce and West Columbia. It flows for approximately 47 miles until it merges with the Wateree River. Congaree National Park is located about halfway down the river's course.
The Congaree River is a popular area for swimming, canoeing, fishing and other recreational activities. There are two official access points to the river near downtown Columbia. One is on the Cayce side of the river on Old State Road. The other is the Jordan Memorial Boat Ramp located at the west end of Rosewood Drive in Columbia.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed the presence of a tar-like material (TLM) in the sediments and soils of the Congaree River between the Gervais and Blossom Street bridges. DHEC has been overseeing the investigation and assessment of this site since June 2010.
Four cleanup alternatives were originally evaluated by DHEC in 2013. Initially, Alternative 4 - Removal of the TLM and Impacted Sediments - was identified as the preferred alternative. However, based on the inability to meet permit requirements and constructability concerns, this alternative could not be implemented. DHEC is re-evaluating the cleanup alternatives outlined in the Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) and has requested that SCE&G (a primary subsidiary of SCANA Services, Inc.) further analyze Alternative 3 - Sediment Capping and Institutional Controls. Additional opportunities for public engagement will be provided by DHEC prior to selection of a final cleanup action.
View of the Congaree River looking south from the Gervais Street Bridge