Readiness Review: That’s a Wrap!

No, we’re not making a movie. But, we are building a program to regularly test the “swimability” of several local creeks and hotspots for activities like swimming, SUPing, sailing, and sometimes just floating.  This week we wrapped up an important step in the development our Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program: the Readiness Review. Read about the Readiness Review kick-off here.

The Readiness Review allowed our program staff, field investigators, and laboratory analysts to practice with the quality control and quality assurance protocols we’ve implemented to ensure the program produces high quality data. Check out the photos from our sample runs over at Facebook here, here, and here. We also put together a Storify to capture live tweets from our field investigators. Check that out here.

We are very pleased with the performance of our team and are grateful for those who have helped get us this far. Based on our Readiness Review work, we are confident we can routinely meet the quality control and quality assurance protocols we’ve implemented for the program. What this means for you is an easily accessible source for good quality data about the level of Enterococcus bacteria present in your favorite tidal creek or recreational area.

The Readiness Review also provided us with preliminary look into what to expect from our data.  We collected 36 samples from 12 sites over three weeks.  See where we sampled here:

View Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Sites 2013 in a larger map

Although the dataset is very small a few observations are apparent:

  • Bacteria counts were highest in samples collected within 24 hours of significant rainfall.
  • Bacteria counts in tidal creek samples were higher than samples collected in the Ashley River and Charleston Harbor.

This is an exciting time for us here at Charleston Waterkeeper. Once we have all our “i’s” doted and “t’s” crossed we’ll begin publishing our data for you here and via the Swim Guide mobile app and website.  Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter accounts.  We promise you won’t miss out on the data you need to make an informed decision about when and where to engage in water-based recreational activity.

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