New Life and Recreation From Lagoon Design
The City of Camden, SC is one of the oldest inland cities in the state, it was established on the banks of the Wateree River in 1732. As Camden grew it developed inward away from the river with public utilities becoming the major uses of the riverfront. Several years ago, the existing Camden sewerage treatment plant settlement pond was abandoned. Leaving a 16.5-acre rectangular, flat bottomed treatment pond. As this pond sat as an empty eyesore, the city investigated potential uses. Staff requesting input from civil engineering firms as well as a preliminary concept from the National Park Service.
Having worked with Kenneth B Simmons Associates (KBSA), a Landscape Architecture firm from Columbia, SC, on several other projects, the city requested this firm to provide an alternate solution to include river canoe/kayak and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) rescue access as well as an affordable recreation amenity. The KBSA's solution proposed a sculptured pond with multiple water depths to encourage various plant and animal habitat communities as well as a deeper winding waterway for canoeing and kayaking. This environmental project included five water control structures to effectively control the water levels at various river elevations and weather conditions. This design included two separate ponds within the site to allow for agriculture experimentation and education of water loving indigo and rice crops which contributed heavily to the history of this area.
KBSA, being the prime consultant, took the responsibility of creating a master plan, cost estimate, bid documents, and construction administration. Step-by-step, the KBSA team developed plans to transform this site. The lagoon, which was originally one of two used by the city's wastewater treatment plant, is approximately 25 feet in elevation above the Wateree River, whereas the interior of the lagoon basin is only 11 feet above the river. The first step in the master plan depicts grading the existing riverbank down ten feet to eliminate the amount of boat ramp required to meet the slope requirements of the American with Disabilities Act. By grading the riverbank down ten feet, 250 feet of ramp can be eliminated. Immediately adjacent to the boat ramp is a staging area and emergency vehicle turnaround. The dirt moved by re-sloping the riverbank is used to "soften" the edges of the rectangular lagoon so that it looks more natural.
As seen in LASN magazine, January 2021.