By Hannah Danahey for Island Eye News
Charleston Waterkeeper is pleased to announce the start of the 2014 water quality sampling season and share results from the 2013 season. The 2013 Recreational Water Quality Scorecard assesses the quality of many local waterways for safe water-based recreational activity, and encourages readers to take action while providing numerous ways every individual can help protect our waterways.
How does the Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program work? One of Charleston Waterkeeper’s many data-driven programs, the Water Quality Monitoring Program regularly tests the “swimmability” of local tidal creeks and other hotspots for activities like swimming, paddle boarding and sailing. Every week from May through October, samples are collected and tested at College of Charleston’s Hydochemistry Research Laboratory for the amount of Enterococcus bacteria present.
Testing results are published as soon as they are available on Charleston Waterkeeper’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Swim Guide app so the public can make an informed choice about water-based recreational activity.
May 7 marked the beginning of the 2014 sampling season.
Last year, the team successfully tested 199 samples from 12 sites around the Charleston Harbor watershed. Of those 12 sites, ranging from Shem Creek to Brittlebank Park, seven received a ‘failing’ designation meaning that more than 10 percent of the samples tested fell below state water quality standards.
Charleston Waterkeeper is working with local communities, businesses, and municipalities on affected waterways to petition DHEC for waterway improvement plans.
Charleston Waterkeeper has high expectations for 2014, seeking to double the number of samples tested, providing reliable information about the quality of your favorite waterway for swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, and sailing. Track Charleston Waterkeeper’s findings by following the organization on Twitter and Facebook and downloading the Swim Guide app. Visit charlestonwaterkeeper.org/water-quality for additional information on the Water Quality Monitoring Program and results.