Dangerous bacteria levels remain in some Lowcountry waterways after Irma


Some waterways in the Charleston area still may not be safe to swim in following Hurricane Irma.

The Charleston Waterkeeper tested the safety of these areas after the storm. That group found dangerous amounts of bacteria in thirteen of those test sites.

Currently, two waterways in the Lowcountry still contain dangerous levels of fecal bacteria.

Shem Creek, in Mount Pleasant, and the James Island Creek are areas that the waterkeeper says is still dangerous for people to swim in.

Those dangerous bacteria levels come from floodwater and rainwater brought by the storm. The waters have high levels of bacteria, pesticides, oil, gas, but fecal bacteria is the only toxin those waters are tested for.

“There’s not a lot of testing going on to determine what those levels are and determine what the discharge is of those pollutants during a storm. We know that they’re present in storm water, we know that they’re present in high amounts in storm water, the problem is just that there just aren’t any testing programs to determine how bad it is,” Charleston Waterkeeper Andrew Wunderly said.

The Charleston Waterkeeper said that the amount of rain we get is the biggest factor for the safety our waterways. To put that simply, the more it rains, the more unsafe the water can be.

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