Cyrus Buffum replies to our request for more information about fecal contamination in Ellis Creek

In an effort to find greater information from DHEC, DNR, or the EPA about our water quality and if it’s good enough for swimming here on our local creek, we were met with a void. Unsure if it’s safe to swim in our home creek, and feeling alarmed and confused, we wrote to Cyrus Buffum of Charleston Waterkeeper, after learning that Ellis Creek on James Island and many others in our area are designated as “fecal contaminated” from their organization. Buffum replied: “Nobody is monitoring bacteria in our local waterways on a regular basis. The Beach Act requires SCDHEC to monitor our beaches and post swim advisories when levels exceed federal standards; however, the same requirement does not apply to our inland waters. As we all know, swimming and in-water activity is not reserved for our beaches. For this reason, our water quality monitoring program seeks to regularly monitor the spots where we use our waterways most (i.e. our creeks, etc.) and post our findings to the public to allow individuals to make informed decisions about water usage. Additionally, when and where issues are found, we will work to identify and address the root cause.”

We (Mary Edna and Celie Dailey) hope to find the sources of pollution locally and improve the water quality of our creek. We are meeting with Cyrus Buffum and Andrew Wunderley, attorney and legal affairs coordinator of Charleston Waterkeeper, next week at the Fraser studio to begin our investigation of Ellis Creek (also called James Island Creek). Stay tuned to Delete Apathy for updates about this issue.

Swimmers in Ellis Creek near Folly Road, James Island, photo by Mary Edna Fraser

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