Bacteria Water

Charleston waterkeeper warns of increased bacteria levels post-storms in marshes – WCIV

The Charleston Waterkeeper is monitoring Lowcountry waters after heavy storms earlier in the week impacted our marshes.

Fresh saltwater fish is on the menu for the Andreos.

“Weather’s great,” said Cary Andreo, a boater in Charleston. “My dad’s in town for a quick trip, so we’re gonna go out and fish for a little bit.”

Andreo has noticed the murky marsh water in Shem Creek, but that isn’t stopping him from getting a fresh catch.

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“It’s been nice since I’ve been here for the most part,” Andreo said. “After some storms, it feels like it’s been a little mucker. We’re used to freshwater stuff, so we’re still trying to get in the swing of things. Hopefully, we’ll catch something.”

The murkier water is coming from the storms that passed through.

It’s caused the Charleston Waterkeeper’s samples to show higher bacteria levels.

“When we get high results, we issue swim alerts to the public so locals can make informed decisions about when and where they choose to go swimming,” said Andrew Wunderly, the executive director of the Charleston Waterkeeper. “We put out that data so folks can use it to keep themselves safe. And really what we’re talking about here is a risk of illness.”

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After looking at their data in all the areas they tested, nearly 75% showed high levels of bacteria.

“It’s important to know how to protect yourself if you have gone swimming or other recreational activity and water with high bacteria levels, you can clean up and wash off afterward or just avoid contact altogether,” Wunderly said.

If you’re swimming in water with high bacterial levels they recommend the 48-hour rule.

“A good general rule of thumb for folks to remember is to avoid contact with the water 48 hours after last rainfall. And what that does is it gives the water enough time to work through that pollution and clean itself up,” Wunderly said.

To stay up to date with the Charleston Waterkeeper’s latest data, click here.