Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program 2013 Wrap Up

A quick update on the Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program: on Wednesday, October 30, we pulled our last sample of the 2013 sampling season (don’t worry we’re already thinking about 2014).  Our goal for the season was to test 12 sites every week from July 10 through October 30 and publish the data so you could make informed choices about where you swim, SUP, kayak, and sail.  So, how did we do?  Check out 2013 by the numbers:

  • 12 sample sites tested weekly
  • 17 weeks of sample collection
  • 204 samples available for collection
  • 199 samples actually collected
  • 97.5% completeness rate
  • 3 samples missed because of Oct. 2013 Federal Government shutdown
  • 2 samples missed because of bad weather
  • 1014 MPN/100 mL highest sample tested
  • 10 MPN/100 mL lowest sample tested
  • 1020 lines of data generated

We enjoyed sharing the sample runs with you and hope you enjoyed easy access to the data via our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Swim Guide.

Next Steps

Now that 2013’s data is generated, we’ll begin the data validation process.  Data validation is a line-by-line examination of our dataset to ensure we’ve complied with our Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) and will determine the quality of our dataset.  After the dataset is validated it will be ready for analysis.

In early 2014 Charleston Waterkeeper will publish a water quality scorecard.  The scorecard will look back at the 2013 season’s data and examine how our sites did compared to South Carolina’s standard for safe water-based recreational activity.  The scorecard will also outline practices and activities you can engage in to protect and improve local water quality.  Stay tuned in January for more on our recreational water quality scorecard!

Another important data user is DHEC’s Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling Section.  DHEC will use our dataset to determine which waterways are impaired and which are healthy for its 2014 303(d) list.  This is an important designation for our local waterways because it determines where DHEC spends time, money, and resources developing and implementing waterway restoration plans.

Thank You!

A hugh thank you to our partners: the College of Charleston’s Masters of Environmental Studies Program, the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, and the City Marina.  We could not have done this work without you!

We are looking forward to planning for 2014 sampling season in January.  If you would like to get involved as a volunteer Field Investigator and are available Wednesday mornings (May to October) please get in touch with us at info [at] charlestonwaterkeeper [dot] org.  In the meantime, learn more about the Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program and see data from past sample runs [here].

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