Divorce Attorney in Conestee SC

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If there were one universal truth it would be that every family is different. We all have our own set of challenges to face and changes to go through. Sometimes those changes are happy like when a new baby is born. Other times these changes involve uncertainty and loss like in the event of a divorce.

If you are having to go through the pain of divorce deal with a complicated custody issue or are handling a different family-related legal matter you might need help. At CHSA Law LLC we understand that family issues are hard. Many of the family law clients that we work for have big questions about the future leaving them over-stressed and full of worry. They are concerned about their children their marriage or both. They are wrestling with uncertainty and anxiety having been served confusing documents that don't make sense. Sound familiar? A family law attorney in Conestee, SC can help whether you need a level-headed moderator or a trusted advocate in the courtroom.

At CHSA Law LLC we have decades of combined experience serving the needs of families from divorce proceedings to family formation issues. Our team is fiercely committed to our clients and with a dedicated focus stays up-to-date on the nuanced world of family law in Conestee. If you're looking for personal attention unbiased representation and a responsive family law attorney look no further than our law firm.

Divorce Attorney Conestee, SC

If you're unsure of whether you need a family law lawyers in Conestee" ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you getting married?
  • Are you thinking about divorce?
  • Has your spouse served you with legal papers?
  • Are your kids not receiving the support that they are entitled to?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above know that we are here to help you figure out your next steps. With CDH Law Firm by your side you can have the confidence to face even the most difficult family law issues. All of our attorneys have years of experience are incredibly responsive and fight for your family's rights. We are happy to take as much time as you need to answer questions and help put your mind at ease for whatever lies ahead.

 Law Firm Conestee, SC

Our firm specializes in a wide range of family law cases including:

  • Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Alimony
  • Adoptions
  • Child Support
  • Mediation
  • Property Division
  • More

If you have been left to manage a foreign family law situation it's time to call CHSA Law LLC. We will sit down with you for an hour at absolutely no cost - because we understand what you're going through and know that you need answers not another bill to pay.

To help provide you with a basic understanding of family law keep reading for in-depth explanations on our areas of expertise.

The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference

Divorce lawyer in
Conestee SC.

At CHSA Law LLC we know all-too-well that a one size fits all approach isn't going to work very well for your unique situation. That's why we approach each divorce case from a personalized standpoint - something that we feel like each of our clients deserves.

 Attorney Conestee, SC
Our goal is to help solve your family law issues and focus on your needs when your divorce is finalized. We will help develop a strategy for:
  • Meeting your post-divorce needs and objectives
  • Dividing marital property for maximum benefit
  • Maximizing time spent with your child as part of your divorce's parenting plan
  • Strengthen your role as a decision-maker for your child
  • Navigating your divorce proceedings and minimizing financial and emotional costs

By working together our divorce law firm will help you rebuild your life and secure a better future for your family.

Divorces in South Carolina
- Different Than Other States

Unlike divorce law in other states South Carolina divorce law doesn't allow spouses to receive an instant no-fault divorce. One or both spouses in the marriage must establish a legally acceptable reason for a divorce to happen. Grounds for a divorce in Conestee, SC include:

  • Desertion
  • Physical Cruelty
  • Habitual Drunkenness
  • Separation for One Year or More
  • Adultery
 Divorce Lawyer Conestee, SC

If you or your spouse do not have the necessary grounds for divorce in Conestee our family law firm can file a Separate Maintenance and Support action. This step lets the court order child custody alimony and marital bills until you can file for your divorce. During this period CHSA Law LLC gathers pertinent info on your spouse's character and assets that can strengthen your case should it be necessary.

Common Issues Associated
with Divorces in Conestee

A divorce in Conestee means more than the end of a marriage. It involves dividing the parties debts and assets determines child support and custody parameters and can establish alimony. At CHSA Law LLC many of our clients are able to reach agreements with their spouse to resolve these issues. Reaching an agreement lets both parties customize the terms of their divorce to conserve resources avoid trial and meet the family's needs.

Sometimes however two spouses cannot or will not come to terms with an agreement. In these situations a trial is possible and litigation is necessary. Our family law attorneys in Conestee, SC. are highly experienced litigators and are well-equipped to handle any disputes revealed in the conference or courtroom.

Common divorce issues include:

Divorce Attorney Conestee, SC
1.

Child Custody and Visitation

One of the most heart-wrenching difficult decisions for parents going through a divorce is resolving child custody and visitation issues. Child custody refers to how much time each parent will spend with their child and whether they can make decisions for them. According to South Carolina law child custody and visitation time are based on what is best for the child.

 Law Firm Conestee, SC
2.

Child Support

Like other U.S states a formula is used in South Carolina to determine how much child support a person must pay. This formula recommends the amount of child support based on factors like how much income the parents make the cost of childcare and the obligation to support children from other relationships.

 Attorney Conestee, SC
3.

Alimony

In South Carolina there is no formula to determine how much alimony a person must pay. However courts consider several factors when deciding if alimony is needed how much alimony should be paid and how long a spouse must pay it. Those factors include each spouse's ability and need to pay alimony how long the marriage lasted and any marital misconduct that occurred. To make matters more confusing there are different alimony types including lump sum rehabilitative and reimbursement.

 Divorce Lawyer Conestee, SC
4.

Distribution of Property

In South Carolina marital property is the property that each spouse amasses from the date of the wedding to the time a spouse files for divorce. That property can often include marital debt. In a South Carolina divorce the courts will order an equitable division of property meaning fair under all circumstances but not necessarily equal.

Divorce Attorney Conestee, SC

Understanding Child Custody in Conestee, SC.

As mentioned above decisions that involve child custody and visitation can be contentious for parents both emotionally and legally. As experienced empathetic divorce lawyers we understand how difficult this process can be. When we work with clients going through child custody battles we always make it a point to be with them through the ups and downs to help them stay centered. Whether you are the husband or wife in your divorce we share a common goal: finding an effective way to support your children and assure their wellbeing.

In South Carolina child custody is a loaded term. In the most general definition child custody determines when each parent is responsible for the physical care of the child and how much authority each parent has to make decisions in their child's life.

No two child custody cases are the same but a negotiated custody arrangement is usually preferred in the judge's eyes as each parent has input in the process. If the parents cannot come to an amicable resolution their fate is left in the hands of a Family Court Judge in South Carolina. The focus of child custody law is always on what is in the best interests of the child. What the judge determines to be the best interests changes depending on the judge.

There are different variations of custody in South Carolina (or custody arrangements) each with varying degrees of authority. When you consult with our family law attorneys at CHSA Law LLC we will go over the child custody process in detail and touch on each distinction to eliminate any confusion you have.

  • Help develop cooperative solutions to disputes or mediate when needed
  • Create an equitable parenting plan
  • Discuss the implications of the different forms of joint and sole custody
  • Problems related to child support
  • Modify court orders if you or your child's circumstances change
  • Enforcement of visitation and custody agreements
  • Much more
Many of the family law clients that walk into our office have big questions that are leaving them full of stress and worry. <

Many of the family law clients that walk into our office have big questions that are leaving them full of stress and worry.

 Law Firm Conestee, SC

Understanding Child Support
in Conestee, SC.

When children are involved in divorce cases child support is often ordered. Several factors can impact whether child support is ordered like the income-earning potential of the child's parents any custody arrangements that are created and what needs the child may have.

At CHSA Law LLC we have years of experience with child support issues relating to:

  • Cases where child support is needed for stay-at-home parents
  • Modifications and enforcement of child support mandates
  • Resolving support and custody disputes
  • Mediation arrangements to reach an agreement on child support. Compared to litigation going
  • the mediated route often means less stress and is more cost-effective than trial.

When you trust our family law firm in Conestee for representation we can help calculate an estimate of how much child support you or your spouse may be ordered to pay. We can also perform a needs-based analysis in cases that involve large amounts of income. At the end of the day our goal is to make this frustrating process as stress-free as possible for you so that you can focus on living life and caring for your child.

Understanding Alimony in
Conestee, SC.

Alimony (sometimes called spousal support or maintenance) is ordered by the court or negotiated between parties. This kind of spousal support has many factors like the income of both spouses how long they were married and the age of each spouse. Like child custody and child support trusted legal guidance is strongly recommended if you are facing potential alimony payments. Our family law attorneys will help you reach amicable arrangements for fair and appropriate alimony payments.

At CHSA Law LLC your family law attorney in Conestee, SC will help protect your interests and rights regarding:

 Attorney Conestee, SC
  • Alimony and business assets
  • Permanent or long-term alimony
  • Significant alimony in high-asset divorces
  • Modifications to alimony arrangements when you or your spouse's circumstances change
  • Enforcement of spousal support mandates when needed

Understanding Division of
Property in Conestee, SC.

When there are no children marital property or issues of alimony divorces often proceed smoothly between amicable spouses. However most divorces in South Carolina are much more complex. Typically divorce involves a union between spouses that lasts for years and involves substantial marital property. This property can be personal property real estate family businesses debts out-of-state property debts bank accounts and more.

In these nuanced situations the applicable parties need assistance dividing their property. This help most often comes from seasoned family law attorneys like CHSA Law LLC.

When it comes to distribution of property certain types of properties that are controversial even under the property division rules in South Carolina. South Carolina is an equitable distribution state meaning that marital property is divided equitably but not always equally.

If you are going through a divorce it's important that you are aware of the following assets and the common issues their division presents:

 Divorce Lawyer Conestee, SC
Pensions

Pensions:

Generally pensions are the second-largest asset in a marriage. When there are sufficient alternative income sources to compensate the non-pension holder South Carolina divorce courts may leave the pension rights with the spouse who earned it with future distribution available. Otherwise a divorce court may enter a Qualified Domestic Relations Order requiring the pension administrator to pay both the former spouse and worker.

Family Home

Family Home:

The family home or the primary residential property owned by the divorcing couple is usually considered a marriage's biggest asset. Dividing this kind of property can be complex and frustrating especially when there are kids involved.

Many divorcing couples have a hard time reaching an agreement on property division. Because the division of property depends on the complexity of you or your spouse's assets and liabilities it is crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney to provide guidance.

Latest News in Conestee, SC

Conestee Park Has an Amazing Playground, Open Green Space, and Even a Dog Park

If you haven’t been to Conestee Park in Greenville, SC, then we highly recommend you go! This park features two playgrounds that are nature themed, a huge open field to fly kites or laze around in, a shaded picnic pavilion, and even connects to a nature preserve that is an ecological gem in Greenville County.Here’s some Greenville trivia for you. What is the former baseball field of the double-A minor league team, the Greenville Braves? If you’ve been in the area for a while, you know that the Braves used to play at ...

If you haven’t been to Conestee Park in Greenville, SC, then we highly recommend you go! This park features two playgrounds that are nature themed, a huge open field to fly kites or laze around in, a shaded picnic pavilion, and even connects to a nature preserve that is an ecological gem in Greenville County.

Here’s some Greenville trivia for you. What is the former baseball field of the double-A minor league team, the Greenville Braves? If you’ve been in the area for a while, you know that the Braves used to play at the Greenville Municipal Stadium. This is the current home of Conestee Park. What you may not know is that Conestee Park adjoins Lake Conestee Nature Preserve, Greenville’s best nature park!

What you’ll find at Conestee Park

Upon entering the park, you will drive past the ballfield and find the playgrounds and pavilion at the back of the lot. There is plenty of parking. And, in true Greenville fashion, there is a fenced playground for younger children right next to larger playground for the older kids. The playgrounds are nature-themed, with a variety of unique climbing and balancing structures that make this park a kid favorite.

The Conestee pavilion is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen at Greenville parks. With its rows of plentiful square picnic tables, wood-paneled ceilings, and a perfect view of the larger playground, the pavilion is a great place to rest in the shade for a snack or lunch. The pavilion can be reserved for events just like other parks. Right beside the pavilion and playground is a well-maintained bathroom.

In addition to the playground, there is a huge grassy area perfect for kicking a soccer ball or tossing a frisbee. There are even porch swings for the adults to sit on and relax while the children play. Around the lot is a paved path for running and walking. And over to the side is a dog park tucked away in the trees.

But, in my opinion (and my children’s too) one of the best parts about a trip to Conestee Park is that you can easily access Lake Conestee Nature Preserve. Several options are available for walking trails. Each trail has learning stations describing everything from river bed erosion to wild bird life. Trails are clearly marked and areas that are prone to mud have boardwalks. The trails even connect to the extensive Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail. For more about the trails and layout in our KAG guide to Lake Conestee Nature Preserve Guide.

Check out our Guide to Lake Conestee Nature Preserve and see what makes it so special to Greenville, SC.

The large parking lot near the playground is at 840 Mauldin Road in Greenville, SC. This is just a ten minute drive from the Butler Road exit of I-385. Make sure to use this address which is “Greenville Municipal Stadium” in your GPS search. If you search Conestee Park, your map might take you to other entrances to the park.

There’s something for everyone at Conestee Park. Have you ever been?

Officials push to fix Conestee Dam to avoid ‘catastrophic’ break

GREENWOOD, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Tucked away in a cove off Lake Greenwood, Ralph and Lisa Cushing found their dream spot to retire.“We, you know, had big plans of being here the rest of our lives,” said Ralph.But that sunny plan became murky months after they moved in.“I don’t think I want to live on a toxic lake for the rest of my life,” he added.Fifty miles north of the Cushing home sits the ...

GREENWOOD, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Tucked away in a cove off Lake Greenwood, Ralph and Lisa Cushing found their dream spot to retire.

“We, you know, had big plans of being here the rest of our lives,” said Ralph.

But that sunny plan became murky months after they moved in.

“I don’t think I want to live on a toxic lake for the rest of my life,” he added.

Fifty miles north of the Cushing home sits the Conestee Dam.

The stonemasonry dam was completed in 1892 and is standing the test of time.

“Somebody who knew something built a dam that could last that long, but it won’t last forever because nothing does,” said Conestee Nature Preserve Operations Director Erin Knight.

“It is 70 years past its engineered life. It could fail at any time. It could last another ten years; we have no idea. We don’t know if it’s solid, if it has voids in it, and the investigation of that is impossible because as soon as you drill into it, you run into the risk of a cascade failure that could lead to a dam breach,” added Kelly Lowry.

Lowry is the Trustee for the Conestee Dam Restoration Project.

“The immediate aftermath of a dam break would be really catastrophic,” he says. “It’s a South Carolina concern for sure.”

Lake Conestee is full of contaminants from the textile mills that boomed in the Upstate from the 1890s to the mid-20th century.

“There was really little regulation about what could be dumped into rivers, so a lot of that came down the Reedy, and until it came to the lake, which was 130 acres originally, that stuff did not settle out, but it came and slowed right behind the Conestee Dam, and it remains there today,” explained Knight.

The Conestee Nature Preserve inherited the contamination and has managed the area around the lake for the last two decades.

Sediment in Lake Conestee collected by DHEC in 2021 shows concentrations of Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury all above EPA-acceptable standards. There are also higher than acceptable levels of pesticides and PCBs.

“As you get long-term exposure, health concerns could become a problem,” said Furman University Assistant Professor of Water Resources Dr. Gustavo Coelho.

Officials estimated there are between 2 million and 3.25 million cubic yards of sediment in the lake impacted by hazardous materials, enough to fill a football stadium 1.5 to 2 times.

“Most contaminants are contained in the Dam, and in case we have a spill or a break of the Dam those contaminants would go and spread downstream,” said Coelho.

That spread could go down to Lake Greenwood, Lake Murray near Columbia, and Lake Marion towards Charleston.

“It’s pretty much always on our mind. It isn’t just something that occasionally we’ll think about because I see how beautiful the lake is. It’s a big problem that has to get fixed,” said Cushing.

Officials have a solution in mind, creating a new dam a few feet downstream from the current one.

“The two would function really as a whole, they would work together to hold back the river and to hold back the sediments that are behind the existing dam,” said Lowry.

The price tag for that is $47.5 million.

“This is the year to do it, we have everything in place, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be moving forward,” said Knight.

The South Carolina legislature is debating whether to fund the solution. Lowry says the money could also come from private businesses, cities and counties in the area. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of federal funding.

After the new dam is funded, it will take three years to complete.

Copyright 2023 WHNS. All rights reserved.

Conestee Nature Preserve Offers Trails, Education, and Fun for Everyone: Greenville, SC

Conestee Nature Preserve in Greenville, SC opened in 2006, and quickly has become a favorite destination for families across the Upstate. We’ll tell you all about this amazing preserve right in the heart of Greenville.Conestee Nature Preserve is an incredible park with miles of trails, wetlands, boardwalks, educational programs, and lots of hands-on opportunities to learn about the environment, conservation, and participate ...

Conestee Nature Preserve in Greenville, SC opened in 2006, and quickly has become a favorite destination for families across the Upstate. We’ll tell you all about this amazing preserve right in the heart of Greenville.

Conestee Nature Preserve is an incredible park with miles of trails, wetlands, boardwalks, educational programs, and lots of hands-on opportunities to learn about the environment, conservation, and participate in some pretty cool things. We are big fans of the Preserve and can’t wait to tell you all about it here.

Trails at Conestee Nature Preserve

Mountain Biking at Conestee Nature Preserve

Birding at Conestee

Educational Classes for Kids at Conestee Nature Preserve

About Conestee Nature Preserve

First and foremost, it is easy to confuse Conestee Nature Preserve (CNP) with its neighbor, Conestee Park. Managed by Greenville County Recreation, Conestee Park has an enormous playground, stadium, baseball fields, dog park and picnic shelter. For more about Conestee Park check out Kidding Around Greenville’s mom review of Conestee Park.

The nature Preserve boasts 13 miles of trails that crisscross 640-acres of forest and wetlands. In 2020, the Preserve changed its name from Lake Conestee Nature Park to Conestee Nature Preserve to better reflect the park’s environment education and conservation mission.

Since its inception in 2006, the nonprofit has purchased more land and expanded the preserve, making it one of the top nature destinations in Greenville. They host events throughout the year like river cleanups, night hikes, bird watching, homeschool days, educational programs for kids, and even adult events like the Winter Wine Walk, which features wine and food.

Trails at Conestee Nature Preserve

With 13 miles of hiking and walking trails, you can easily get however many miles you’d like of the easy trails. We like to combine them and wander around. Conestee Nature Preserve has a helpful Trail Guide to get you started. We like using AllTrails as well in there to kind of see where we are and help us get to where you want to be.

There are boardwalks throughout the park as well where you can observe all kinds of cool things in the water like salamander eggs, salamanders, turtles, fish, ducks, geese, and lots of different kinds of birds. There are 11 observation decks so no shortage of places to check out the local wildlife.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail even goes through the heart of the Preserve. In the spring, be sure to look for all the cool wildflowers. We like using the free Seek app to identify them. Just don’t pick any and follow the Leave No Trace principles.

Mountain Biking at Conestee Nature Preserve

It may not be widely known but there are mountain biking trails at Conestee Nature Preserve. The trails are accessed by parking at 415 Churchill Circle, Greenville. They are located on the Brushy Creek Lands and are used by both pedestrians and bikers so trail etiquette is important.

The Preserve asks that bikes go right on trails on even days, and left on odd. Pedestrians should go left on even days, and right on odd. You can see the trails on this map.

Birding at Conestee Nature Preserve

Other than hiking and biking, there are many other fun things to do at Conestee Nature Preserve. CNP is one of our favorite destinations for birdwatching. The National Audubon Society has designated the Preserve as an Important Bird Area of Global Significance, and over 220 bird species have been reported by the Greenville County Bird Club. You can join the Greenville County Bird Club on a guided bird trip in the Preserve on the third Saturday of every month.

They do a short and long walk so you can choose what suits you best.

Educational Programs at Conestee Nature Preserve

We have been to so many of the Preserve’s educational programs and have loved all of them. Here are some of the different programs they offer.

Ever seen an ant zombie or get up close to a snake? It’s all possible if your school group does a field trip at the Preserve! They offer field trips from pre-K all the way through high school and adhere to the South Carolina Science Standards. The field trips fill up really fast so if your group wants to do it, get in touch with them well before the beginning of the next school year.

Field trips are free for public schools. The cost for private schools are $10/student for a standard field trip (3.5-4 hours long) and $8/student for a two-hour field trip. For homeschoolers, the cost is $10/student, $5/adult or child ages 3 and 4 for a standard field trip; $8/student, $4/adult for two-hour field trip.

If you have been looking for educational but fun classes for your kids, then you are in luck! Conestee Nature Preserve offers classes for kids ages 2 through middle school! Classes are offered monthly, and they even have some specialized homeschool classes and adult classes you may want to check out. Some of the adult classes include themes like rain barrel workshops, guided hikes, and birding! Tickets must be purchased ahead of time.

Preschool Nature Discovery Club (Knee-High Naturalist)

For younger children ages 2 – 4 years old, this spectacular program gets your kids outdoors learning about local wildlife. Cee, our instructor during our hour long class, was amazing! She speaks to every child with kindness, making the class interesting and fun, while creating a fun craft to go along with our lesson.

For our class in February, we started off reading a book about the subject we would be studying, in our case, metamorphosis. The classes have a different theme each month and correspond with what is going on during that time of year. We then explored logs for larvae and beetles, and the kids were so excited to find some critters crawling around on the logs. Afterward, we made a fun craft lighting bug that paired with the theme while reading another book and talking about what we saw.

The class is an excellent bite-size science lesson for littles, allowing them to engage with nature and look a little closer at the world around them. Classes are available twice per month, usually on a Thursday morning or Saturday morning, during the school year.

Nature Discovery After School Program: Elementary and Middle School Classes

Nature Discovery is a really cool program that gives exclusive access to elementary and middle school students to parts of the Preserve that the general public cannot go to. Kids can explore well beyond anything they could if they just visited the Preserve and this lets them dig deeper into the environments present and learn all about the different wildlife and seasonal cycles.

We did a salamander-focused Nature Discovery with the middle school group and had such a fun time! We learned what the eggs look like, got to search for them, hold them, and look at them under a microscope. We even got to search around to find a salamander, which one of the kids in our group. It was the coolest thing. Like the themes for the younger kids, these classes also follow the seasons and what is happening that time of year.

The staff at the Preserve are so passionate about their jobs and it’s hard not to have some of that passion rub off on the students while there.

Nature Discovery is offered in the fall and spring and you can sign up for one class or the semester. They meet every other week in the late afternoons. The cost is $10/session or $60 for all eight sessions.

The Preserve offers multiple homeschool days throughout the year but they sell out quickly. This is a drop-off program and you must reserve tickets in advance. You can stay tuned to their events page or subscribe to their email newsletter for the latest updates on when those dates are released.

Visiting Conestee Nature Preserve

Conestee Nature Preserve is open daily sunrise to sunset. While there is no admission, the Preserve kindly asks for a donation of $3/person. All proceeds go to supporting the Preserve. It is entirely a nonprofit and funded by donations.

CNP has a brand new little shop, which you can check out at the main entrance near the playgrounds. You can purchase CNP-branded merch.

Dogs are allowed at the park but they must be on leash at all times.

Follow Conestee Nature Preserve on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information on trail closures. The Preserve often floods and sometimes these waters can damage or close trails.

There is absolutely no swimming at Conestee Nature Preserve, for humans or animals. The lake was created when the Reedy River was dammed at the Conestee Mill in 1892. The lake originally covered about 130 acres, but over the years industrial waste and discharge filled about 90% of it with sediment so toxic that the lake was classified a Superfund site. Safety studies of the brownfield site were completed, and it was determined that the best course of action would be to leave the toxic sediment in place.

Conestee Nature Preserve 840 Mauldin Road, Greenville (there are four other entrances to trails, which you can view on the Conestee website)Conestee Nature Preserve Website | Conestee Nature Preserve Facebook

Love bird watching? Be sure to read our article about Upstate, SC birds at Lake Conestee.

What is your favorite place to visit in Conestee Nature Preserve?

'We're gambling every day:' Lake Conestee dam remains a flooding and environmental risk

When severe flooding hit parts of Greenville County on Feb. 6, Conestee Foundation Executive Director Dave Hargett thought it might be the day the 128-year-old Lake Conestee dam — and the 2.3 million cubic yards of toxic sediment it contains — finally gave way and washed downstream.But it didn't. And if there's good news, it's that the dam is still just in "poor" condition — it hasn't failed yet."We're gambling every day," Hargett said.Dams that are considered in "...

When severe flooding hit parts of Greenville County on Feb. 6, Conestee Foundation Executive Director Dave Hargett thought it might be the day the 128-year-old Lake Conestee dam — and the 2.3 million cubic yards of toxic sediment it contains — finally gave way and washed downstream.

But it didn't. And if there's good news, it's that the dam is still just in "poor" condition — it hasn't failed yet.

"We're gambling every day," Hargett said.

Dams that are considered in "poor condition" need "remedial action" and have uncertainties that identify a "potential dam safety deficiency," according to DHEC. DHEC also says if a dam is in poor condition, further investigations and studies are necessary.

The next level, "unsatisfactory," calls for immediate or emergency action. A December 2019 DHEC inspection confirmed the Conestee dam remains in poor condition.

Hargett said the toxic sediment trapped behind the dam is responsible for the dam's poor rating.

The inspection also noted:

It's been 20 years and four engineering studies since the Conestee Foundation bought the Lake Conestee site with state funds from the Colonial Pipeline settlement. Colonial Pipeline, headquartered in Georgia, had seven spills from 1996 to 1999 and paid millions in settlements to South Carolina, landowners and federal Clean Water Act fines.

Now, a new dam — to be built 10 feet downstream of the existing dam — should be completed by the end of 2022, according to a 2019 study completed by Lexington-based engineering group Kleinschmidt.

Hargett said he's confident he'll raise the money to complete the dam by the end of 2022, but ReWa CEO Graham Rich, a stakeholder in the dam project, said the completion date is ambitious.

"We have not been approached to fund any of it," the CEO of the water treatment plant told The Greenville News. "We're in support of repairing and replacing the dam, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be worked out. One, being able to get the land just to do the work."

Another key stakeholder, Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven said he's not sure about the timeline, but that there is a "sense of urgency" surrounding the project.

Flooding effects on Conestee: 'Trash jam' builds at Lake Conestee dam

Losing the dam would be an economic and environmental catastrophe

Before the 1960s, the Lake Conestee dam served hydroelectric functions. Now, it only serves as a waste containment structure. If it were to fail, it would be catastrophic, Hargett said.

All the toxic sediment the dam is holding back would make its way down the Reedy River and into Boyd Mill Pond and Lake Greenwood — which provides water for Greenwood and Laurens counties.

"If we lost the dam, it wouldn't just be an environmental catastrophe, it would be an economic catastrophe," Hargett said.

The Conestee mill is also downstream from the dam, and part of the land needed for the project is owned by WCM Global Wealth, which owns the mill property.

"We met with (Hargett) about a month ago to discuss the findings of the dam study and how it could affect the mill property. We have not come to any type of agreement on future plans," WCM Global Wealth real estate director Todd Hardaway said in an email to The News.

ReWa has an interest in the new dam, because the dam crosses the Reedy River where ReWa discharges treated water.

"The concern would be that if there were a failure and those sediments were released what it would do long term for the river and our ability to discharge into the river," ReWa CEO Graham Rich told the News.

If the dam were to fail, ReWa could most likely continue to discharge but would have more restrictions. It would also have to work with DHEC on a new solution.

Hargett said simply cleaning up the toxic sediment isn't an option.

"It would be well over a billion dollars, a billion dollars to clean it up," Hargett said. "You can't practically do it. It would be more harmful."

From the late 19th century through most of the 20th century, Greenville was a leader in the textile industry — and dyes released into the river many years ago contributed to the toxins in the sediment on the upstream side of the dam today, Hargett said.

"Either we can allow failure, or we can step up," Hargett said.

New dam, new owner

The new dam will cost $65 million, according to Hargett. That includes construction of the dam, creation of a new entity to own the dam and a long-term care endowment. The existing dam is on the National Register of Historic places and will remain in place, Hargett said.

"The price is not just the construction, the price includes all of these other things which are very important... it includes creating a new owner," Hargett said. "We don't want to own this anymore. It's too much liability."

Hargett said he's still working out the details on who will own the new dam.

"Everybody agrees we gotta do something now," Hargett said. But, "Nobody wants to get their wallets out."

Hargett said $6.5 million will come from public stakeholders, and $1 million of that was approved by a proviso by the South Carolina House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 19.

Hargett said $58.5 million would come from private entities, but he would not provide specifics.

Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven said the county does not have the money in its budget to contribute to the project.

Instead, Kirven said one of the private entities they're talking to is Duke Energy — one of the "corporate companies that remain in place that were present when the problem was started," Kirven said.

Ryan Mosier who works in communications for Duke Energy said the company has been a part of "important conversations among many stakeholders in and near Greenville County concerning the future of Lake Conestee dam."

"We look forward to working with these groups on a plan that serves the long-term needs of all involved," Mosier said in an email.

And if Hargett doesn't raise the funds for the dam? The dam could become a National Priority List site, he said.

National Priority List sites are "sites of national priority among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories," according to the Environmental Protection Agency website.

New Lake Conestee dam cost estimates broken down:

Previous Conestee coverage: Lake Conestee Nature Park rebrands as a preserve

Contact Genna at gcontino@gannett.com or on Twitter @GennaContino.

Upstate, SC Birds: Birds and Birding at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

My family enjoys visiting Lake Conestee Nature Preserve not just because of its wonderful play areas but for its easy trails that are teeming with wildlife. I didn’t realize until recently that Lake Conestee Nature Preserve is an Upstate, SC birds watcher paradise with almost 200 different species of birds.I’m so excited that Paul Serridge from the Greenville County Bird Club has agreed to share with us m...

My family enjoys visiting Lake Conestee Nature Preserve not just because of its wonderful play areas but for its easy trails that are teeming with wildlife. I didn’t realize until recently that Lake Conestee Nature Preserve is an Upstate, SC birds watcher paradise with almost 200 different species of birds.

I’m so excited that Paul Serridge from the Greenville County Bird Club has agreed to share with us more about the birds at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve and the presentations and free guided bird walks that they offer to the Greenville Community. All of the following photos are taken by local Greenville County Bird Club member Don Faulkner and depict birds that you can look for at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve.

Birds at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

Are you interested in birds and want to know more?

Cedar Waxwing (Photo Credit: Don Faulkner) – learn more about the Cedar Waxwing

There are currently 976 species of birds on the ABA (American Birding Association) checklist for the area covered by the Continental US and Canada.

Wood Duck (Photo Credit: Don Faulker) – learn more about the Wood Duck

There are 472 species on the official bird list for South Carolina.

And….there are 192 species on the checklist for Lake Conestee Nature Preserve right here in Greenville. You can find the checklist at http://gcbirdclub.org/conestee

Red-shouldered Hawk (Photo Credit: Don Faulkner) – learn more about the Red-shouldered Hawk

In other words, a birding bonanza is right here on your doorstep in Greenville. Of course, many of the birds found at Conestee are common and some will visit backyard feeders and are well known. The accompanying photographs by Don Faulkner show some of the species regularly found in the park but which many people are not aware of in our local area.

Killdeer (Photo Credit: Don Faulkner) – learn more about the Killdeer

Free Guided Bird Walks at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve*

The Greenville County Bird Club (GCBC) offers free guided bird walks multiple times every month at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve (LCNP). Details can be found on the outings page of the GCBC website. Check the website before heading out, because the club occasionally adds walks or changes the weekend. It is not necessary to be a GCBC member to participate. (Please note that minor children should be accompanied by an adult.)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Photo Credit: Don Faulker) – learn more about the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Birding Events at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

In addition to exploring the beauty of the Preserve, you can also participate in any of their events. They offer small Community Events and Youth Programs. Their Annual Events are larger in size and include Hops & Herons in the fall and the Great Blue Gathering in the Spring. They also offer occasional bird-watching events. You can stay tuned to their Events page for more details.

More Birding Opportunities

Have you seen any of these birds at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve?

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