Dangerous Levels of Fecal Contamination Found In Lowcountry Waterways

June 12, 2017, 9:11 am EST | Share:

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (BRODIE HART, WTAT-TV) — It’s popular with paddleboarders, kayakers, tourists and locals, but the tide of concern is growing around one Lowcountry summertime hotspot, Shem Creek.

We have learned the water there may not be safe. A non-profit group which monitors local waterways shows that Shem Creek is one of 10 spots around the Lowcountry with dangerous levels of bacteria.

Leaders with the group Charleston Waterkeepers are advising everyone not to swim in the water there.

They say last week’s tests show evidence of a specific bacteria that could indicate fecal contamination, which means there could be a high risk of exposure to disease causing bacteria and viruses.

However, this is not the first time we have seen this. According to Charleston Waterkeepers’ website, Shem Creek has failed nearly a quarter of water quality tests so far this year,

Some people say even that is not enough to keep them off the water. “The water advisory is not that big of a deal to us because we are not going to go swimming in it,” said Billy Easterbrooks, a kayaker. “We are going to kayak in it and enjoy the scenery. So the water quality is and issue, but not a huge issue for us to be here.”

Charleston Waterkeepers website does not say it’s unsafe for fishing or boating in Shem Creek. They do test Charleston waterways for contaminants every week.

We are still waiting on more information for exactly what’s causing these dangerous levels of bacteria.

Shem Creek is among 10 Charleston areas where swimming is currently discouraged. Some of those areas include:

– Wappoo Cut boat ramp
– James Island Creek 1 & 2
– Melton Peter Demetre Park
– Brittlebank Park
– Cove Creek 1
– Hobcaw Creek 2