Exposure to water on Shem Creek discouraged after failed quality tests

There's concern at one of the most popular areas in the Lowcountry for kayakers and paddleboarders. There's something dangerous in the water.

Samples from Charleston Water Keeper indicate elevated levels of bacteria in the water at all three test sites on Shem Creek. Specifically, there's evidence of elevated enterococcus bacteria in the water, which is used as an indicator of fecal contamination.

The risk is that with elevated levels of fecal contamination, there is an elevated potential of being exposed to disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

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As a result of the test results, Charleston Water Keeper is advising those on Shem Creek avoid full body water contact. According to the Charleston Water Keeper website, Shem Creek has failed water quality test standards 24 percent of the time thus far in 2017.

The areas on Shem Creek are among 10 in the Charleston area where swimming is currently discouraged. Those other areas include:

- Wappoo Cut boat ramp

- James Island Creek 1

- James Island Creek 2

- Melton Peter Demetre Park

- Brittlebank Park

- Cove Creek 1

- Hobcaw Creek 2

To view all Charleston Water Keeper monitored areas on a map, CLICK HERE.

** All data is collected and generated under a DHEC approved Quality Assurance Project Plan. Samples are analyzed at the College of Charleston’s Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences’s Hydrochemistry Research Laboratory which is certified by DHEC to test for Enterococcus bacteria.

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