Water quality is important in the eastern Carolinas, whether it is water we drink, water we swim in, or water we take fish and shellfish from… the cleaner it is, the better. Water pollution and storm water run off can cause big problems if left unchecked, so it is very important to monitor the quality of our waterways.
Kelly Hall with Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy says that “we want to identify problem areas that need immediate attention. We also want to monitor and track trends over time, so that we know what is normal for a location, so we can then put in pollution control devices and we can monitor and document improvements”.
The Waccamaw Watershed Academy’s Volunteer Water Monitoring Program takes readings twice a month all year long at several locations along the Waccamaw River, in Murrells Inlet, and in Surfside Beach. A lot of the volunteers have science backgrounds, and they do this to make sure our water stays clean.
The volunteer collects a water sample from a specified location, and uses a meter to take several readings, analyzing the sample, and writing the results down on a form. Some samples are also sent back to the lab for further analysis.
The data is being used by stormwater managers from both Horry and Georgetown Counties. They follow up on anything that is abnormal. This data is also used to verify stormwater permits issued by South Carolina DHEC.
For more information on the Waccamaw Watershed Academy’s Volunteer Water Monitoring Program, check out their website at: http://www.coastal.edu/wwa/vm/
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, contact Kelly Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about waterways in your neighborhood, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s “How’s My Waterway?” website at: http://watersgeo.epa.gov/mywaterway/