Animal waste and lawn fertilizer affecting surrounding waterways following heavy rain

Animal waste and lawn fertilizer affecting surrounding waterways following heavy rain

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Over the past week we've had almost 3 inches of rain at the Charleston Airport International Airport. Some areas easily picked up more like 6 to 8 inches.

This year we've had almost thirty inches of rain and it washes around nasty stuff affecting the seafood you eat and the beaches you enjoy.

Imagine lawn fertilizer, animal waste and motor oil mixed together only to be washed down a neighborhood storm drain when it rains. That's what happens after a heavy downpour.

"Things that we just don't want in our waters," said Kimberly Counts, a water resources agent with Clemson University Extension Services.

"We call it people pollution," said Counts.

Counts says dirty water affects us all.

"It is then flushed out into tidal creeks, in our streams, in our lakes, in our ponds and the beaches etc.," said Counts.

The team with the Clemson Extension Service wants to keep our waters fishable and swimmable.

"Storm water is the number one threat to water quality in our surface waters in the United States," said Counts.

Counts says water off our streets doesn't go the same place as water we drink or use to wash.

Counts said, "Storm water is not treated."

Instead, it mixes with food we like to eat, like shrimp or oysters and goes to places where we swim, like beaches and lakes.

Picking up after your dog is a big way Counts says you can help cut down the amount germs being washed into the water.

Counts said, "Dog feces is known to have two and half time more bacteria than human waste."

Following directions and not using too much fertilizer could also help.

People in Toledo, Ohio recently learned a lesson after not being able to drink their tap water for two days.

Counts said the main cause was "fertilizer on lawns and farms."

The rain has let up for now, but it'll be back, and when it pours Counts says remember what's being flushed into our beautiful waters and what you can do to help.

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