Cleaning up streams one farm at a time

By Peter Kent

Morris Warner, Oconee County Extension Agent; Photo by Peter KentWater is essential to our lives. In Oconee County, Extension agent Morris Warner has made it his mission to work with farmers and homeowners to reduce pollution and improve water access for cattle. He has secured more than $3.5 million in federal grants to achieve his goals.

Cattle that get into streams pollute the water and break down stream banks. They also muddy the drinking water, which can cause health problems. Through grants, Warner helps farmers afford to put in wells, watering troughs and fences to keep cattle away from the streams.

“This program has been a godsend,” said Carol Hendrix, a cattle producer in Westminster, S.C.

In addition, aging septic tanks pose a significant risk to public health and property values. Federal funding helps homeowners by covering part of the cost to pump out clogged septic tanks and install permanent pump-out pipes, enabling better tank upkeep in the future. Next Warner hopes to build a similar program for the Greenwood area.

For information: Morris Warner, 864-638-5889,