Pressures on the Kingston Lake Watershed
Kingston Lake and Crabtree Swamp, a major tributary, are impaired for fecal coliform and mercury. There are also worrisome trends towards higher sediment loads and low dissolved oxygen. In general, many of the streams in the watershed, particularly those near the heart of Conway, are in poor condition. This is likely due to rapid population increase, higher rates and volumes of runoff due to higher imperviousness, and expansion of the man-made drainage network.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Kingston Lake watershed had a population of 21,602. From the period between 1990 and 2000, Horry County experienced a 36.5% increase in population. The accompanying growth and development is leading to higher rates and volumes of stormwater runoff because water cannot infiltrate through conventional rooftops, parking lots, roads, and sidewalks. This stormwater runoff picks up trash, sediment, bacteria, nutrients, toxic chemicals, oil and grease, and metals and carries them into ditches, streams and waterways. Furthermore, in the Kingston Lake watershed, the man-made ditch network has lengthened the drainage channels to five times the natural stream system. This also speeds the transport of stormwater and its pollutants to the waterways.