More on South Carolina's poor water ranking

Image by Flickr user smudieImage by 20090730-oil.jpg A problem source: Most everything on our roads gets washed out to the marsh with the next rain.

I should start by saying South Carolina has a poor water ranking only when compared to other East Coast states.

Yesterday, word came that a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council reported that out of the 30 oceanfront states, South Carolina ranked 19 for beach water quality, making it the worst performing East Coast state by far. All others were in the top 10.

Now, there's two important things to note here. 

First, the risk to us humans is minimal. But if I told you there was only a little pollution in your drinking water, you probably wouldn't be OK with that.

Second, and more interestingly, an article in The Post and Courier quoted a media relations officer with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control as saying "It's tough for us to speculate" how the council comes up with the rankings. "We don't know their methodology. We've got great beaches in South Carolina, and we've got good people who monitor them."  

If you're the regulatory body for the health of South Carolinians, and a group comes to you and effectively says "You've got water twice as nasty as any other East Coast state, New Jersey included." I really want you to be a little alarmed.

But, we do know what South Carolina's problem with water is in large part: Storm drains.

All the stuff in Charleston that drips from cars, is tossed by smokers, left by animals, and thrown down the street gutter gets washed out to the marshes and beaches with the next rain.

So much so, that the Natural Resources Defense Council says stormwater is 83% of the problem in South Carolina.

There's no need to be alarmed, but there's no need for our state to shrug this one off.