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Wedding & Event Venue Near Columbia, SC.

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Your Magic Moment Awaits

Your wedding day. Without a doubt, it's one of the most significant events you will ever experience - when you and the love of your life officially seal the deal and get married. On this day, your friends and family will gather to celebrate the next step in your life. Photographers will be running around snapping photos, catering plates delicious food for guests to enjoy, and the DJ sets the mood for a night of fun and libation. You've worked extra hard to make everything look perfect and run smoothly. You have examined every moving part down to the tiniest detail. At the center of all your effort is your wedding venue in Columbia, SC.

Your event space can mean the difference between an unforgettable event and an average occasion. Capturing your uniqueness as a couple is paramount to a memorable wedding. But, without the right venue location and staff, your unforgettable event can turn into a painfully average occasion. Fortunately, at Abney Hall, you won't ever have to worry about dingy reception spaces and crummy chow halls.

Constructed in Columbia, SC, in 1962, Abney Hall is 15,000 square feet and sits on 500 acres of land, making it a large wedding venue unlike any other. Abney Hall was originally the home of Mrs. Josephine Abney, a Columbia native who was a lifelong philanthropist. Mrs. Abney devoted much of her time and effort towards supporting charities, educational institutions, hospitals, and other noble efforts. Today, Abney Hall stands tall as a symbol of love, both in our community and for the couples who choose to get married here.

Abney Hall is an exclusive event experience unlike any other, surrounded by verdant forests and sparkling ponds. Our venue is a natural fit for several occasions, including:

Special Event Space Columbia, SC

Weddings

 Event Venue Columbia, SC

Bridal Showers

 Event Space Columbia, SC

Bridal Portraits

 Rehearsal Dinner Venue Columbia, SC

Rehearsal Dinners

 Bridal Shower Venue Columbia, SC

Corporate Events

 Business Event Space Columbia, SC

Much More!

 Wedding Space Columbia, SC

The Top Wedding Venue in Columbia, SC

The beginning of your life starts at Abney Hall. With our team by your side, we can create the fairy tale wedding you have dreamed about since childhood. Whether you have 100 guests or 1,000, our waterfront ceremony locations and French-inspired courtyard are perfect for your big day. Celebrate in luxurious style surrounded by shady magnolia trees, a private forest, large ponds, and the beauty of Mother Nature. While our venue location and aesthetic have been praised far and wide, so too have the practical aspects of Abney Hall. Looking for a relaxing, comfortable spot for your bridal party to get ready in? We offer an entire floor in the Abney Hall residence to get the bridal party ready. Want to make your groomsman feel extra-special too? We've got a private, plush house just feet from a sparkling pond that is a proper hangout spot for the guys in your group.

To make life easier on you, we also offer Abney Hall as your go-to spot for rehearsal dinners. Why book an expensive restaurant or travel to another location when unmatched beauty and convenience are right at your fingertips? Abney Hall is just the place for that very important dinner the night before your big day. We are also happy to host your bridal shower at Abney Hall. Our venue makes for one of Columbia's most unique bridal shower settings, where your family and friends can gather to give gifts and be merry before you walk down the aisle.

With such a large, magnificent house and a vast property, Abney Hall also makes for an unforgettable location for your bridal portraits and other wedding-related photography needs. Don't take our word for it - book a tour and see for yourself why so many new brides and grooms choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Columbia.

 Wedding Venue Columbia, SC

What Sets Abney Hall Apart from Other Wedding Venues in Columbia?

You've already found the person you want to spend the rest of your life beside. The next step? Finding the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony, reception, and celebration of your lifelong commitment to one another. Remember, the backdrop for photos, dancing, eating, and all other activities will be at your wedding venue. That's why we work so hard to set Abney Hall apart from our competitors - so you and your guests can focus on love and living your new life while we work with your vendors and photographers to make your magic night a reality.

Here are just a few reasons why guests choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Columbia, SC, along with some helpful tips from our experienced wedding venue staff:

Venue Size

Choosing the appropriate-sied venue for your desired guest count is a critical decision. A venue's capacity affects the number of people you need to consider having at your ceremony and reception. As you're first starting out, we recommend having a guest count in mind as you're searching for the right venue. Try to stick with that number. You may fall in love with a particular venue, but if its max capacity can't accommodate your guest count, it may be time to cross them off your list.

 Corporate Conference Hall Columbia, SC
Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that this is your big day. You shouldn't feel obligated to invite the college roommate you shared a dorm with for one semester. At the end of the day, your wedding venue should be one that can accommodate those closest to you. Abney Hall is equipped for both small and large weddings, consisting of 500 acres of forest, ponds, and lush natural beauty. Whether you want an intimate wedding with only your best friends or a grand ceremony with hundreds of people, we have the right amount of room to make you comfortable.

Location and Nearby Lodging

On your big day, you're likely to have friends and family traveling in from other parts of the state or country. These folks will need a place to stay during and even after your wedding. Accessibility and ease are important factors when it comes to choosing your wedding venue for both you and your guests.

Located in Columbia, SC, Abney Hall is situated in a memorable, natural setting, giving your wedding a private vibe in the midst of Mother Nature. While we pride ourselves on having a secluded wedding event space, our venue is within an easy driving distance of hotels and vacation rentals.

Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

When you contact us for a tour, make sure to speak with our experienced venue manager about nearby hotels and shuttle service options. We understand that your guest's comfort and convenience are important, and we're happy to work with you to figure out the best way to get your guests to Abney Hall.

Venue Staff

At Abney Hall, our staff has earned its reputation as one of the industry's most friendly, accessible teams. We will provide you with a purpose-minded point of contact that can help answer questions relating to timelines, preferred vendors, and every aspect of your wedding. When you tour our wedding venue in Columbia, SC, for the first time, we want you to feel like you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

We would be happy to go over:
  • Venue Pricing
  • Ceremony Specifics
  • Reception Specifics
  • Catering Possibilities
  • Decorating Possibilities
  • Entertainment Options
  • Photography and Photo Opportunities
  • Venue Amenities
  • Bridal Party Needs
  • Groomsman Needs

At Abney Hall, our goal is to be your first resource when it comes to setting up and coordinating the details of your wedding day.

Decor

When it comes to your wedding's decor, you probably already have a few ideas in mind. We love it when our brides and grooms have a vision in mind because one of our greatest joys is turning that vision into a reality. At Abney Hall, our team is available to help you and your decorator fit, accent, and accommodate your fairy-tale wedding - whatever that may be.

Are you looking to dress up your wedding with decorations galore? Just want to add a few accents that tie into your preferred color palette? Abney Hall is versatile and ready to help however we are able.

 Reception Hall Columbia, SC
Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

If you're thinking about bringing in your own greenery, lighting, floral pieces, and more, we recommend discussing your vision with us on your initial tour of our event space. That way, we can get a head start on making your big day exactly how you envision it.

Photo Opportunities

10 years from now, when you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, you will pull out photographs from your wedding and will reminisce about the unforgettable time you spent at Abney Hall. Your wedding photos will be with you forever, and as such, we work closely with you and your photographer to suggest extra-special photo op spots that you can only find on Abney Hall grounds.

From the grand staircase and French-inspired courtyard to our manicured gardens and lovely pond, there is no shortage of photo-op locations for your photographer to choose from. As one of the most popular wedding venues in Columbia, SC, we have worked with dozens of photographers over the years.

Our experience has allowed us to cultivate a list of preferred photographers - all of whom have the talent to take your pictures to the next level in a setting they're familiar with. We encourage you to check out our gallery to get a sense of the scope of our wedding venue and gain inspiration from other happy couples.

Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip

The gallery on our website is extensive but be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. We keep our social pages updated with recent wedding photographs, giving you an incredible resource that you can use for your own photography purposes.

Special Event Space Columbia, SC

The Premier Corporate Event Venue in Columbia, SC

Abney Hall is known across the United States for our stunning weddings, but we also play host to some of the largest corporate events in South Carolina. Why choose a bland, lifeless meeting space when you can enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature coupled with a professional atmosphere? If you have an important team-building event or corporate conference that you have to coordinate, look no further than Abney Hall.

The epitome of class and style, our corporate event space is large, lavish, and chock-full of onsite amenities for you and your co-workers to enjoy. If your team needs a morale boost, don't bring them to the local Olive Garden for a cheap lunch. Treat them to a refreshing experience in our main dining room, where we can work with you to incorporate your catering options with the goals of your event.

When the hard work is done, and your team needs a breather, what better way to relax than with a quick dip in our pool? To burn off a little steam, head over to our brand-new tennis court - the perfect place to get some exercise in an ultra-private setting while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Don't forget to bring your fishing poles for a couple of hours of fishing. There's even an opportunity to go hunting if you wish.

 Event Venue Columbia, SC

Elegance at Its Finest - Only
a Phone Call Away

If you're ready to learn more about Abney Hall as your wedding venue, don't hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear more about your plans, your vision, and your needs. We know that planning a wedding isn't easy. It takes time, attention to detail, and a whole lot of patience. Our goal is to help provide you with all the info you need to learn more about our venue. Once you decide on a date, we'll work closely with you and your vendors to craft a wedding experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Our available dates for your big day are going quick, especially during peak seasons like spring and fall. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation
 Event Space Columbia, SC

Latest News in Columbia, SC

Grocery store, apartments, brewery and more slated for massive Richland Mall site overhaul

Details started to emerge Wednesday on what will be a more than $100 million redevelopment of the long-struggling Richland Mall property in Forest Acres.While there have long been talks about overhauling the 32-acre mall property, and Richland County Council recently approved tax incentives to make such a deal happen, greater details had been scarce. But the city of Forest Acres and Georgia development firm Southeastern said in a We...

Details started to emerge Wednesday on what will be a more than $100 million redevelopment of the long-struggling Richland Mall property in Forest Acres.

While there have long been talks about overhauling the 32-acre mall property, and Richland County Council recently approved tax incentives to make such a deal happen, greater details had been scarce. But the city of Forest Acres and Georgia development firm Southeastern said in a Wednesday release that the mixed-use project would include a 100,000-square-foot grocery store, more than 500 apartments, a public park, a brewery or taproom and more.

It’s billed as the largest economic development investment in the small city just outside of the state capital in nearly four decades, with Forest Acres Mayor Frank Brunson saying in a Wednesday statement that it is “a historic day in Forest Acres and Richland County.”

Southeastern has a contract to buy the mall property, though the sale has not yet closed. After the deal closes, architects will begin drawing up site plans for the project, a process that could take six months, according to the news release. While some elements on site will be rehabilitated, the bulk of the concrete mall structure will be demolished.

Officials noted Belk, one of the last national retailers left at the current mall, will move into the former Parisian space at the site. That part of the project will likely take 12 to 18 months, officials said. After that, demolition will begin on the rest of the mall, a process that will likely take another 12 to 18 months. The mall is nearly 1 million square feet.

In all, the first phase of the project could take four to five years to complete.

An anchor grocery store tenant has not yet been named for the project, though developers are in talks with one, the release said.

Wednesday’s release did not specify whether Barnes and Noble bookstore, currently located at the mall site, would be a part of the project as the property is overhauled.

Richland Mall initially opened in 1961 as an open-air shopping center. It was converted to an indoor mall in the late 1980s. It has for years struggled mightily to retain national tenants.

“We’ve seen the potential in the property for years, the location is a huge appeal,” Southeastern vice president Jason Long said in a statement. “Ultimately, an enclosed mall redevelopment of this magnitude cannot get off the ground in our opinion without a public-private partnership. Forest Acres and Richland County shared our vision of taking this functionally obsolete mall, demolish the majority of the structures, and redevelop the property into a mixed-use development that offers retail, restaurants, living space, and outdoor public space cohesively on the site.”

Forest Acres City Councilman Thomas Andrews echoed the significance of the redevelopment, noting a demolition and complete overhaul of the property is necessary.

“We wanted a long-term solution for the mall property,” Andrews said in a statement. “Over two-and-a-half years of working on this project, we’ve come to learn to be successful, the mall property has to be completely reimagined to deliver a thriving commercial space.”

Southeastern is no stranger to major developments. The company has numerous retail, residential, hospitality and other business developments in its portfolio, with projects across the South. Among their developments is the mixed-use Shelter Cove Towne Centre in Hilton Head

There will likely be more than 500 apartments as part of the redevelopment, built across two phases, the city said in a release.

The first phase of those apartments will wrap around the parking garage that is along Forest Drive. The first floor of that parking deck will be used for retail customers, while the top floors will be used by apartment tenants. The release said the “curb appeal” of the parking deck will be improved.

A specific brewery partner has not been named for the project, but Forest Acres Councilman John Barnes said it would be a welcome addition.

“We need a brewery or tap room in The Acres,” Barnes said in a statement. “Period. I think what Southeastern is offering of a brewery overlooking the (public park) greenspace is exactly what we envisioned from the start of this deal.”

As for the public park, it would feature a large greenspace, and give the city a place to hold major events, potentially even a return of the Jamming on Forest concert series.

Brunson said residents in Forest Acres have long desired revitalization at the mostly-empty mall site. And he said the time to act was now.

“For 15 to 20 years our citizens have continually expressed their desire to redevelop the property and bring it back to life,” Brunson said. “Southeastern had the track record to get this done – and that was important to us. We couldn’t risk this sitting another 15-20 years at the gateway to our city.”

This story was originally published November 9, 2022 2:16 PM.

Historic West Columbia manufacturing building will soon become 'Colite City'

The new vision aims to provide young entrepreneurs the space to create their businesses in the heart of South Carolina.WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — A new development project aims to bring new life to a historic building in West Columbia.The former home of the Colonial-Hites Manufacturing Plant has been vacant for years. But now there are plans to take that former site and transform it into what its new developers call, "Colite City." That's the vision of the real estate development company...

The new vision aims to provide young entrepreneurs the space to create their businesses in the heart of South Carolina.

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — A new development project aims to bring new life to a historic building in West Columbia.

The former home of the Colonial-Hites Manufacturing Plant has been vacant for years. But now there are plans to take that former site and transform it into what its new developers call, "Colite City." That's the vision of the real estate development company Jams & Stark.

"The project is a historical renovation, of course, they were historically an entrepreneur campus going back to the 50s and 60s," the company's director of development, Wade Caughman, said. "Our kind of vision is if it could be done then, in the 1950s-1960s, it can be done again."

Caughman said young entrepreneurs, start-ups, and tech companies have the potential to make Columbia and surrounding areas like West Columbia "something special."

He added that this large lot will have to be developed in phases as the City of West Columbia has approved a building permit for roof and basement renovations on the 228 North Parsons Street side.

RELATED: Housing, a park, and more businesses are planned to hopefully take the place of the current Richland Mall

"Is the right end side with the silos," he said. "If you go over there, the big warehouse, that size is 150,000 square feet."

Caughman said they want to bring in entrepreneurs along with successful businesses that are willing to help the newer ones grow, making it a massive change to the space.

"We're excited to have seen the initial renderings for the Colite development in the heart of West Columbia," West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles said. "They look like they will tie in very well with the city's overall redevelopment plans. We're particularly excited to see this level of potential investments in our city's center."

It's also an exciting time for neighbors to the development like Robert Baggett.

"Anything would be an improvement," Baggett said. "I look forward to seeing an improvement."

Caughman added the goal is for the first section to be completed in 10-11 months with the potential of it taking 18 months in total.

More information on the project can be found on the project's website, ColiteCity.com.

The future is now? Columbia becomes blockchain testing ground with house bought as an NFT

History is purportedly being made in Columbia.Last month, a handful of entrepreneurs announced they had created a process to allow a person to buy a home completely online and in a matter of minutes. A real estate investor, Adam Slipakoff, says he bought a $175,000 house in southeastern Columbia near Garners Ferry Road with the click of a button.“I never imagined I could buy and finance a house with a simple click, rather than going through the time-consuming and cumbersome traditional settlement and mortgage process,&rdq...

History is purportedly being made in Columbia.

Last month, a handful of entrepreneurs announced they had created a process to allow a person to buy a home completely online and in a matter of minutes. A real estate investor, Adam Slipakoff, says he bought a $175,000 house in southeastern Columbia near Garners Ferry Road with the click of a button.

“I never imagined I could buy and finance a house with a simple click, rather than going through the time-consuming and cumbersome traditional settlement and mortgage process,” which can sometimes take months, Slipakoff said in a widely-circulated statement.

After the sale was announced, national news outlets including Newsweek and Forbes jumped on the story, seeming to confirm that something interesting did indeed happen here.

During the home’s closing event last month, Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann even made an appearance, after being invited by the entrepreneurs.

“We’re open to new ideas and business here in Columbia, so we are obviously excited to welcome these new homeowners to our community,” Rickenmann told The State. “Innovation in our city that attracts new residents will only help to expand Columbia’s appeal abroad.”

It’s one of the first sales of its kind and represents a claim being staked by internet startups that say this is the beginning of a whole new way of buying and selling almost everything. At the same time, industry experts have questions about how secure these sales will be and whether they can ensure consumer protections.

The sale leveraged some relatively new internet technologies — cryptocurrency, the blockchain and non-fungible tokens. Even the home’s mortgage was conveyed in cryptocurrency. The use of those technologies is what has ultimately excited some and created skepticism in others.

Experts say while this may be an exciting test case, the technology is a long way from being able to help the average home buyer.

The reason this home sale drew so much attention is that the home was purchased as a non-fungible token, or an NFT.

Yes, NFTs, those things that have largely been associated with ludicrously expensive digital pictures of smoking monkeys.

An NFT is basically a digital receipt, or a “one-of-a-kind trading card.” They’ve gradually been making their way into the mainstream. Corporations such as Nike and Coca-Cola are attempting to find more money-making ways to use them, while engineers and internet startups across the U.S. are looking for ways to expand their footprint.

In the case of home-buying, advocates say the technology cuts out middlemen and streamlines the process, saving a buyer or seller money on broker fees and other expenses.

“The idea is can you lower the number of steps or the number of transaction fees that are charged along the way,” said Matthew Liu, a founder of Origin Protocol, one of the companies involved in the Columbia house sale. “Can you allow people from different parts of the world to interact with one another, send money to each other, transact for goods, without having to have the confines of the traditional world?”

This is one of the major promises of the blockchain and cryptocurrency, that it’s decentralized and unbound by real-world red tape. That’s also one of the major red flags for experts who say the red tape is important for protecting consumers.

“On paper, this is all going to work at some point,” said David Ostrowski, a Northwestern University faculty member and PhD in computer science. “Do you want to be an early adopter? Personally, I wouldn’t.”

For the last two years, Ostrowski has researched uses for the blockchain in new areas.

He said the use in real estate could be transformative, but it probably isn’t ready yet. The blockchain and NFTs allow for a lot of automation. Theoretically, the technology could automate traditional home-buying steps, cutting out the need for a broker, for example.

Suddenly, home buyers are saving money on that broker’s fee. But it’s unlikely the business model has been fleshed out enough for the average buyer to be able to safely use the same process Slipakoff went through, Ostrowski said.

In the case of the home in Columbia, an LLC was created to own the property — which is not uncommon in real estate. Then, an NFT was created to represent ownership of the LLC. The LLC agreement notes that the owner of the NFT owns the property.

The arrangement has created a lot of uncertainty. Questions circulated on social media asking whether someone could steal the NFT in a hack, thereby taking ownership of the home, or whether this sale is protected by federal law the way traditional home sales are.

Liu said there’s a misconception that the entire thing happens online and out of bounds of the real world. He also stressed that all state and federal laws around real estate sales have been followed.

The company Roofstock, which has been active in real estate for years, including in Columbia, facilitated the sale. The buyer did have to go through an extensive real-world verification process before he was allowed to buy the property.

“It’s not this totally cowboy thing,” Liu said.

Still, it’s unclear whether a home buyer would have any legal protections if a sale like this went awry.

Because cryptocurrencies are relatively new, and because this is a new use case for the technology, there isn’t much legal precedent to establish how courts should respond if someone gets ripped off, Ostrowski said.

“I draw the analogy between this and, let’s say, autonomous cars. They represent a huge opportunity. …But you know, do we trust autonomous? Could you trust sitting in a car at highway speeds without a steering wheel? I don’t, and I’m a software guy,” he said.

Liu also acknowledges that the technology isn’t ready for the masses yet. The home was purchased as a rental property by an established real estate investor who was already engaged with cryptocurrency, so it’s not as if the buyer is purchasing a home for himself.

But the Columbia purchase was in part meant to showcase the technology’s potential use for the average buyer, Liu added.

“It’s like this local story,” he said. “It’s not this future thing that only exists in television. This is happening in the U.S. on a local level, and it’s happening today.”

Despite the skeptical reaction of many online, the NFT home sale isn’t actually that far off from what the real estate industry is actively talking about.

The National Association of Realtors this month will meet for an annual conference. One of their featured speakers will lead a talk called “Cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFTs.”

“That’s been the theme over the past year,” said Nick Kremydas, CEO of the South Carolina Association of Realtors. “The industry is definitely talking more about these technologies and their impact on the business.”

It’s still a far-off possibility. The requirements when buying a house are difficult to automate, Kremydas said. Things like home inspections, title work, a closing attorney to process the deed. It’s also unclear if a mortgage conveyed in cryptocurrency has any federal protections.

Kremydas tries to stay engaged with the possibilities. Maybe blockchain can make the process of buying a house safer, maybe it can make things cheaper eventually. Wire fraud is not uncommon in traditional home sales, he said.

“If we’ve got these traditional tools that we feel for the most part are very safe, very secure, but fraud does happens, there’s a lot of room for more confidence to be created around these new technologies,” he said.

But until those potential tools can guarantee safety for customers, he encourages buyers to follow the existing channels to make sure they don’t get robbed, or at least to ensure they have some protections if something does go wrong.

Liu said its up to those building the technology to make sure those safe guards exist. It’s not ready yet, but he thinks it will be in the next five years.

The goal isn’t necessarily to create an entirely online home-buying experience. Rather, he said the hope is that the average person won’t even need to understand the blockchain or NFTs in order to benefit from their uses.

”At some point if we’re successful, the blockchain technology will be hidden and people will just be like, oh cool. This is just like a cheaper, faster, more convenient way to buy a house,” Liu said.

This story was originally published November 3, 2022 11:04 AM.

EPA cracks down on SC water laws, asks DHEC to change them

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — State health officials are reviewing their processes right now and one part of that is reviewing the standards for the water all of us use.But, what's likely missing from the review are changes requested by federal officials.The laws that protect our states rivers and waters could also be putting them at risk.The state's Surface Water Withdrawal Act manages most protections of South Carolina's waters.But, in the past decade, that act has been called into question.“We&rsqu...

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — State health officials are reviewing their processes right now and one part of that is reviewing the standards for the water all of us use.

But, what's likely missing from the review are changes requested by federal officials.

The laws that protect our states rivers and waters could also be putting them at risk.

The state's Surface Water Withdrawal Act manages most protections of South Carolina's waters.

But, in the past decade, that act has been called into question.

“We’ve had 10 years to see how it works in South Carolina’s regulatory system and we’ve unfortunately seen examples of where it doesn’t work," said Megan Chase, the State Policy Director with Upstate Forever.

Environmental groups, like Upstate Forever, filed a notice of intent to sue the highest environmental authority in the land - the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In that suit, they allege the EPA had a duty to review South Carolina's law and find whether they approved of it.

Turns out, they didn't.

In a letter to DHEC and the Attorney General's office, the EPA alleges some parts of the state's law did not satisfy the Clean Water Act.

The EPA going a step further, saying part of the law was not based on science.

“There were a few regulatory definitions that were in keeping with the best available science. There were some that weren’t," explained Megan. "But, compromises had to be made to make sure the legislation passed, like with anything.”

Three parts of South Carolina's law were called into question.

The minimum instream flow provision, meaning how much water is flowing, the minimum water level provision, meaning how much water there is, and the safe yield provision, meaning how much water can be taken out.

The EPA claimed that business and industry were valued more than protecting the water.

“This is about making sure we have enough water left in our rivers for everyone, not just one industry group," said Megan.

EPA's biggest concern was with the safe yield provision.

As the law is written, too much water could be taken out of a waterbody at certain times of the year.

According to the EPA's letter, "...the 'safe yield' will not be available more than half of the time."

“So it’s actually allowed users to withdraw more water on paper than what actually exists," explained Megan.

The consequences could damage water both upstream and downstream.

DHEC responded to the EPA, saying:

...while DHEC disagrees with some of the EPA's findings, we will still take actions to meet with stakeholders around the state who are impacted by surface water laws and regulations...

“I think we’re in a good position to update our regulations and that regulatory framework so that we have a more protective framework," added Megan.

EPA requested these changes be made in DHEC's Triennial Review, but the agency did not think the timing would work.

DHEC has already started presenting part of the review.

In a Thursday morning DHEC board meeting, two changes from the review were approved and sent to the General Assembly.

The solution to the EPA's request will likely be found at the statehouse.

South Carolina House Speaker Murrell Smith telling WACH FOX news in a quote:

Protecting South Carolina's resources is vital to our prosperity. I am always interested in finding ways to protect and preserve natural resources in the state.

Speaker Smith voted in favor of the original Surface Water Withdrawal Act when it was passed in 2010.

For now, a group with representatives from several agencies is working on changing the regulations to satisfy the EPA.

SC teachers demanding education reform from lawmakers in upcoming legislative session

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — A handful of educators here in the Midlands have released their demands for newly elected and existing lawmakers as a new legislative session approaches. That includes massive education reform to help put a stop to the ongoing teacher shortage we’ve seen for a while now.A report the Palmetto State Teachers Association published this week showed scathing statistics in South Carolina when it comes to teachers. More than 5,300 teachers have left the profession in the last year. More than a third of tho...

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — A handful of educators here in the Midlands have released their demands for newly elected and existing lawmakers as a new legislative session approaches. That includes massive education reform to help put a stop to the ongoing teacher shortage we’ve seen for a while now.

A report the Palmetto State Teachers Association published this week showed scathing statistics in South Carolina when it comes to teachers. More than 5,300 teachers have left the profession in the last year. More than a third of those departures in the last five years have been teachers with five or fewer years of experience.

“We’ve got to reverse that trend and give every student access to a high quality teacher, and that starts with addressing working conditions for our state’s educators,” said Patrick Kelly, a teacher and Palmetto State Teachers Association representative.

Kelly of the PSTA detailed the organization’s demands in a 2023 legislative agenda. It includes increasing the starting salary for teachers to $50,000 a year. It also includes extending the six-weeks of paid family leave the General Assembly approved earlier this year to teachers.

“Instead of taking time without pay, they walk away from the profession so they can raise their own child,” Kelly also said.

They cite that the average teacher salary in SC is at least $15,000 less than what it typically costs them to keep their classrooms running. It’s why they want to see smaller class sizes and more training and support for disciplining students.

“In South Carolina, you can be a 5th grade teacher and have 35 students in a classroom,” Kelly added. “You’re not doing a lot instruction. What you’re doing a lot more of is effectively babysitting. That’s the kind of thing that leads to the burnout teachers are experiencing.”

Issues these educators are hopeful newly-elected state superintendent of education Ellen Weaver will tackle alongside house lawmakers like Annie McDaniel who sits on the education committee.

“I was happy to hear that she was going to look into state agencies and start there, to see if there is some money she can redirect,” McDaniel said, referencing Weaver. “I think the problem is going to come with the balance. The balance of the things they’re requesting. Because it all requires money.”

WACH FOX News then asked McDaniel, what that figure look likes.

“I can’t tell you what that figure is, but I can tell you it’s probably astronomical because we have a lot of teachers in the state,” McDaniel added. “I think it’s going to take years to fix. We just have to keep chiseling at it, but I think we can get there, and make SC a really great state.”

WACH FOX News tried repeatedly to reach newly elected supt. Of education Ellen Weaver for comment but haven't heard back at the time of publication.

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