Lake Waccamaw is a popular spot to swim and fish, vacation, and has a state park with camping facilities. While most visitors put much thought and planning that goes into making the most of a trip, water quality is hardly ever part of the equation.
The Winyah River Alliance takes care of that part.
Winyah Rivers Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization that began in 2001, and focuses on protecting the water resources from the lower North Carolina basin to the upper South Carolina Coast. This watershed basin is known as Winyah Bay. The riverkeepers test the waters of Lake Waccamaw once a year, and the results are posted to a website, and can be found at theswimguide.org. The last test conducted was on June 23, and uploaded to the website on June 24.
Water quality of the lake was passed at 100 percent this year, 96 percent in 2020, and 100 percent again in 2019. According to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the last time Lake Waccamaw failed a water quality test was back in September 2018 after flood waters filled the lake from Hurricane Florence.
Anna Gurney, from the North Carolina Division of Water Resources, says that testing is done by the state every five years, and by the county after any run-off accidents or sewage spills.
“Our science team will be at Lake Waccamaw this summer, so a brand-new set of data will be forthcoming.” says Gurney.
Testing data of the water is extensive and thorough. Physical data such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and specific conductivity are collected from the surface to bottom. Chemical data are collected in the photic zone (zone of light penetration). Common chemical parameters include total residue, total suspended residue, turbidity, chlorophyll a, phytoplankton and nutrients. Hardness is collected at the surface. All existing organisms are taken into account during testing.
For more information about water quality in North Carolina, you can contact the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Wilmington Region at 910.796.7215.