Carolina Clear: Water Quality Monitoring

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Terasa Lott, water resources agent with Clemson Extension, joined News13 NOW at 9 a.m. to talk about water quality monitoring. Watch the interview for full details about what is being checked and opportunities to get involved in monitoring.

Lott’s interview was part of the Carolina Clear Program. Visit the Carolina Clear website for information:  www.clemson.edu/carolinaclear

More information from the interview follows:

Water quality monitoring is a way to determine if waterbodies are meeting water quality standards. The standards are in place to prevent pollution and ensure waterways can support aquatic life and are safe for recreational uses such as swimming and fishing and  that fish are safe for human consumption. There are active volunteer water quality monitoring programs in place in Murrells Inlet, along the Waccamaw River, and in Surfside Beach through Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy.

What water quality problems are being monitored locally and why are they important?

  • Fecal bacteria which can affect swimming and shellfish safety
  • Low oxygen and acidity which can affect animal life
  • Sediment erosion (turbidity) – soil particles in the water can clog the gills of aquatic organisms and can smother bottom dwelling organisms
  • Nutrient runoff – excess nitrogen and especially phosphorus can result in an explosive growth of algae and low dissolved oxygen

How can citizens get involved?

Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy is monitoring in 3 locations: Murrells Inlet, along the Waccamaw River, and in Surfside Beach. They provide all of the training so no previous experience is necessary. Those wanting to get involved should contact the Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator, Kelly Hall at khall1@coastal.edu

How can citizens learn more about the quality of their local waters?

Data from the Waccamaw Watershed Academy is available on their website at www.coastal.edu/wwa

There is also a website called How’s My Waterway – watersgeo.epa.gov/mywaterway

It’s mobile friendly and allows you to see if a waterway was checked for pollution, what was found, and if it was, what is being done.  This is available for locations in the US so you could even use it to check out a stream, river, or lake before a vacation.

 

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