Waccamaw Riverkeeper Host Bacteria Blitz on World Water Monitoring Day

Cara Schildtknecht, Waccamaw Riverkeeper, Winyah Rivers Alliance


You are invited to join millions of people across the globe in sampling your local waters on World Water Monitoring Day! Since 2003, people have been participating in the global education outreach program. Aiming to build public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources, the program empowers citizens to perform basic monitoring of their local water bodies.  


On September 18th, we are inviting you to celebrate World Water Monitoring Day with us by participating in water monitoring in your local area of the Waccamaw River watershed. Whether you sample the river, a tributary, or a swamp, we want you to help us collect data! Our goal this year is to collect 20 bacteria samples from the Waccamaw River watershed for our Bacteria Blitz!


We will be collecting and analyzing water samples for bacteria from throughout the watershed. E. coli is a fecal coliform bacteria present in our waterways from a variety of sources. Warm blooded animals have E. coli bacteria in their gut sand eliminate the bacteria through defecating. That’s right, we are talking about poop!


While E. coli from animals may not make us sick, it can indicate that there are other human-sourced pathogens in our waterways that can make us sick. The US Environmental Protection Agency uses E. coli as an indicator species to approximate the level of risk for someone recreating in contaminated water.


On the Waccamaw River, we typically see low concentrations of E. coli. This is because we have blackwater swamps that slow down and hold water so it can be filtered. Our swamps actually remove bacteria from the water and help keep our river clean. But we want to prove that on World Water Monitoring Day and we can do it with your help!


Anyone can participate and getting involved is easy! We will give you all the supplies and information you need to collect a sample and get it to the Riverkeeper for analysis. Here is how you can get involved:

1)    Register online at www.winyahrivers.org and claim your sampling location in the Waccamaw River watershed by September 12th.

2)    Pick up your sampling kit from the Waccamaw Riverkeeper prior to September 18th. We will give you everything you need!

3)    Collect your water sample between 8:00 am - 10:00 am on World Water Monitoring Day on September 18th.

4)    Return your sample to one of our collection hubs throughout the watershed before noon on September 18th.

5)    Tune in virtually on Monday September 20th at 5:30 pm to hear the results of your sampling and learn what the results mean for the Waccamaw.


We hope you will join us and millions of other citizen scientists on World Water Monitoring Day! Participants will receive a free gift with their sampling kit and will be entered into a raffle to win a Bacteria Blitz Prize! But the best reward will be seeing how your data can help us protect swimmable, fishable, drinkable water in the Waccamaw River watershed!


Contact your Waccamaw Riverkeeper, Cara Schildtknecht, with any questions about how you can get involved on World Water Monitoring Day or any day of the year! She can be reached by phone at (843) 779-2227 or by email at riverkeeper@winyahrivers.org.