AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — As storms roll through the CSRA, waterways are at risk of being polluted. Each week, Truck Carlson and his team, Veterans for Clean Water, test the water quality at several popular swimming and boating spots, collecting samples to check bacterial pollution.
“We’re finding out what the levels are,” Truck Carlson, the coordinator of Veterans for Clean Water, explains. “If they’re outside of the norm, that keys us in to start looking. Maybe, there’s something going on up river.”
Heavy rain can pollute waterways, like the Savannah River. Tanya Strickland, North Augusta’s Stormwater Superintendent, says that pollution comes directly from waste and debris.
“When we have these big storms, they wash our yards and streets into storm drains that drain directly into the water, in most instances” Strickland explains. “Anything that’s on the ground is washed into the water. According to the EPA, that’s the number one polluting source we have right now.”
Strickland says people should be cautious of swimming in waterways for at least the “first hour or two after it rains.” The Savannah RiverKeeper and Veterans for Clean Water post their water quality test results weekly, alerting the public if certain areas are unsafe to swim.
“Pay attention to what the water is telling you,” Carlson says. “It’s really important because it can become an issue with getting sick, and it doesn’t need to be.”