For 2nd week in a row - Charleston waterways with high levels of bacteria


The Charleston Waterkeeper reported 11 of 15 waterways have high levels of fecal bacteria for the second week in a row.

The organization said swimming is not recommended in the following areas: 

  • Lower Ashley 
  • Battery Beach
  • Demetre Park 
  • Hobcaw Creek
  • James Island Creek
  • Shem Creek beyond the Coleman Blvd. Bridge
  • Wappoo Cut

Officials with the organization did not have updated DHEC beach data as of Friday afternoon.

The group tests water samples and have said some of the polluted waterways showed 50 times the state standard for what's safe to swim in.

Charleston Waterkeeper Andrew Wunderly said heavy rain like Charleston has seen for the last several days will push contaminants into our waters, causing a spike in bacteria levels.

South Carolina standards say it’s unsafe to swim in water if the sample shows more than 104 MPN per 100 mL.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Environmental Control said in an email that if water has bacteria from rain, DHEC encourages people to take appropriate precautions to be safe.

Swimming is not recommended in areas where the most recent testing shows bacteria counts of 104 MPN/100 mL or higher. Swimming in these areas may be a health risk, especially for children, the elderly, and those with a compromised immune systems.

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