You Can Help Keep Our Lakes and Waterways Clean

You Can Help Keep Our Lakes and Waterways Clean

You Can Help Keep Our Lakes and Waterways Clean

As a resident of Pinopolis, S.C., just outside of Moncks Corner, I am keenly aware that the peninsula drains right into Lake Moultrie.

This has caused me to pay attention to information about what can hurt or help with water quality. When my little daughter would swim in the lake, I wanted that water to be pure. Here are some pointers for how any of us can help with water quality:

Runoff from yards: The first line of defense is to prevent undesirable substances from entering the runoff flow. When rain hits, and the water flows to ditches and outlets, think about what it carries with it. Dog waste is particularly offensive, with E. coli bacteria and parasites that can make swimmers ill. My solution is frequent scooping, then place it in a compost bin where it decomposes without exposing anyone. There are other contaminants that can be washed along. Be aware to prevent oil, pesticides, fertilizer and sediment from traveling into the runoff flow. The best way to do this is following directions on the label.

Be mindful of pesticide use: Do you ever complain that there are not enough fish in a lake or stream? Using excess ant poison could be a major contributor to that. It says right on the label that ant poison will kill fish, and ant poison is made to taste good so that ants will eat it. So, use only as directed to keep our fish alive and thriving.

Another simple fix is to locate a swale (a low area of land) or other retention feature in the path of runoff. This allows for the absorption of water into the ground, where it can break down chemically or at least not bioaccumulate in fish or humans. A simple swale along a lakefront could really make a difference in water quality.

Last of all, if you are a lake-front property owner then you need to be aware of your septic tank and drain field. Be sure to have it pumped and checked every five years, especially if there are several people living in your home. A leaking septic system can greatly affect lake water quality.

I hope you learned something new from this that you can use to help keep our watershed clean.

Author Elizabeth Kress

Elizabeth Kress

Elizabeth “Liz” Kress is a senior engineer with Santee Cooper, working in the Renewable Energy department. She acts as a developer of biomass and solar projects. Liz has been instrumental in increasing Santee Cooper’s renewable generation, and has also been involved in the feasibility work on offshore wind for South Carolina.

She graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., with a Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgy and materials engineering, and has a master’s degree in business from the University of South Carolina.