May 2023 Keeper’s Report

Welcome to your May 2023 Keeper’s Report!

Charleston Waterkeeper’s work standing up, showing up, and taking action on the critical issues that face your rivers and creeks garnered 11 press pieces over the past 3 weeks, ranging from long overdue PFAS testing by state officials to a Post and Courier’s deep dive into the “dirty hidden little secret” of septic tank pollution. Positive change is happening and as your Waterkeeper we are on the front lines of each issue.

We are proud to serve as your water quality watchdog and understand the importance of staying on the water: testing, documenting, and reporting data that drives change for clean water. This allows us to be the eyes, ears, and voice for your waterways! And it’s why we launched our very first Charleston Waterkeeper Boat Campaign to ensure we can be on the water working for you and your waterways for years to come. 

Latest News

Here we go! 

On May 3 we launched the 11th Swim Alert bacteria testing season! Make sure you know when and where it’s safe to swim this season to keep you and your family safe from bacteria pollution.

ABC News 4: Watch today

On the water and in the lab

Our water quality scientist Cheryl Carmack works hard in the lab to make sure you have the latest Swim Alert every Friday morning. Know before you go!

Live 5 News: Watch today

PFAS contamination

PFAS (aka forever chemicals) have been a known problem in SC’s rivers and creeks for years–especially in Charleston. It’s good that EPA and DHEC are finally taking action to address this issue. 

News 2: Watch today

🌊 Member Spotlight 📣

Free Fly  

This amazing and talented crew needs no introduction and we couldn’t wait to shine a very deserving light on Free Fly! They are not only making the most comfortable, stylish, bamboo clothing that we are obsessed with, they are passionate about being good stewards of the environment! 

This solid and bright team are not afraid to get their feet wet and hands dirty for clean water and have again and again exemplified hustle when it comes to protecting and restoring your local waterways. Thank you Free Fly for standing true to your mission and being the real deal! 

Read More!

“Dirty Hidden Little Secret”

What can the past teach us?

Pathogen and bacteria pollution in Charleston’s local waterways isn’t a new thing. The only question is will we learn from history? 

Post and Courier: Read more

No longer out of sight, out of mind 

Aggressive growth and weak septic tank regulations are threatening the health of our coastal waterways, our families, and our economy. Thank you Post and Courier for giving this issue it’s due attention. 

Post and Courier: Read more

Investing in clean water! 

Mount Pleasant Waterworks received a 17 million dollar grant to clean up bacteria pollution from septic tanks and protect water quality and public health in Shem Creek and Snowden.

Post and Courier: Read more

More investment in clean water!

The James Island Public Service District was awarded a 10.3 million dollar grant to help clean up bacteria pollution in James Island Creek by extending sewer service. That’s good news for water quality!  

Live 5 News: Watch today

Stoping new septic tank pollution

We filed an injunction to stop DHEC from issuing new septic tank permits for dense suburban developments in rural areas like Awendaw near Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge.  

Live 5 News: Watch today


Go Topless for Clean Water  

The 16th annual Barricade Go Topless Day is this Saturday 5/20! Hop in your Jeep and come join us for an amazing day of cleaning up your waterways and gathering afterwards for celebration and fun!

Sign up today

Come see us this Saturday! 

The Spring Artisan Market on Daniel Island is this Saturday 5/20 and we will be there! Come see us, shop local artisans, and support clean water. 

Join us!

That was fun ️ 

We were pleased to host several impactful and hands on events during Lowcountry Earth Week! A great time was had by all.

Volunteer today


Islander 71’s 1st Year Anniversary Party is this Saturday 5/20 and we can’t wait to toast with a Pacifico! 

Join us!

🦪 Clean Water Updates 🌱

Earth Week Success 🌎

We had a great time with Coastal Expeditions and an awesome crew of volunteers for the Shem Creek Cleanup and Crab Bank Cruise! 

Volunteer today

Creek Watchers

We hosted a workshop for our current Creek Watchers to help get them re-certified for a year of testing. Our next workshop is coming soon.

Email: [email protected]


We have a few more Shell Sorting and Seed Planting events this season. These are always a lot of fun. Sign up to get in on the action! 

Volunteer today

You did it! 👊🏽

We worked with DNR SCORE and a great group of volunteers to plant 350 new bags of oyster shell in the Wappoo Cut!

Volunteer today


Our special guest!

This majestic creature has seen some things along Shem Creek and we always love a visit and this moment of zen along our water quality testing run. Thanks all for loving this Great Egret as much as we do. CharlestonWaterkeeper.org/swimalert 


Let’s Get Social

Don’t miss any of the action for clean water: especially the weekly restoration events! Be sure to follow along on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and now LinkedIn

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