Permits are a license to pollute.

NPDES permits granted by a state authority to entities are basically a license to pollute and specify the ranges at which each pollutant is acceptable.  Over the past couple of weeks the Santee Riverkeeper Alliance has reviewed some of these permits and has found that many municipalities, corporations, water treatment companies, etc. have been chronic violators over the past many years.   If there weren't any penalties incurred by the offenders, that would explain the pervasiveness of the chronic violations.  From our analysis these permits are useless.  They are not enforced.  The pollution limits mean nothing to the authority that granted them.  Why waste time writing them?  The health of our rivers and streams might be a good reason.

I am the Voice of the Water

Please let me say to you what I am while you listen.  I am the one that thins the land and thickens
the air.  I am also known as stream, river, bay, branch, canal, cloud, ocean, and sea.  You may classify me by color and clarity and even turbidity.  My shape and speed varies depending upon the terrain that I travel.  I have no control as to where I go but am the agile authority when I arrive.  I usually travel most fastidiously down the steepest slope and meander along on the deltas that I create.   I fly, transfer large amounts of energy, and carve stone and cut steel given the proper amount of time or velocity.  I exist in three states known as liquid, solid, and vapor.  I am my rarest in my purest form and weigh 18.01528 grams/mole.  I have a triple and critical point at an exact temperature and pressure.  I am conveniently, artificially, and unfortunately caged for profit in what I will call a fossil-fueled plastic jail named "bouteille en plastique."  I am more than the ninety-nine percent of the one hundred percent.  The Sounds I make shall be my and your keeper.  You may only speak on average and the majority, the seventy percent, of what I have to say.  I am the trickle, the pitter patter, the swish, and the swash.  I am the ahhhh after the quenching of your thirst from the garden hose on a hot summer's day.  I am the roar of an ocean wave breaking on the beach.  I am the tufts of mist on the crests of waves just as the wind likes to blow through your hair so does it mine.  I am the drip from a leaking faucet.  I am the hurricane and cyclone wave hauling heat around the earth as it takes a deep breath and exhales.  I am measured on by many scales but only after I have traveled through those bounds. The key to me is not as to what you think of me but is what you hear of what I have to say.  Listen closely.  My name is Water and I have a voice.

Santee Spring

Hi,
I am Mark Bruce and would like to discuss an opportunity with you to do a spring clean up in your area in the up coming spring months.  Interested parties located within the Santee River Watershed need to email me as soon as possible so that we can get an early start on the summer time fun.
Thanks,
Mark

 p. s. Here is my email so that you can contact me: MarkBruce@SanteeRiverkeeper.org

Early New Year

The New Year arrived early for the Santee Riverkeeper Alliance.  Earlier this past autumn, Mitch Seruya, from Sumter, South Carolina, notified the executive director of the Alliance that his family is donating a boat for the Alliance's efforts in protecting water quality within the Santee River Watershed.  Seruya, a professional angler from the southeast, knows that better water quality means better fishing.  The Alliance sincerely thanks the Seruya family for their generous gift.  Mark Bruce says the boat will be put to good use patrolling the Santee River Watershed starting in 2012. 

Say You Will

Broken glass hidden under the water is dangerous to swimmers and waders.  While the water is low now would be a good time to walk along your favorite swimming area and pick up any sharp object lying on the shore.   Also, purchase some protective footwear to use while swimming.

Sewage Overflows-Balancing the Budget-Oh yeah they are related.

Sewage Overflows/Open ContainersIn 1972, the Clean Water Act was established to protect our waterbodys from pollution.  Furthermore, in 1998 the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) Restoration Act was established to prohibit possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the passenger areas of motor land vehicles.  The objective of both laws is clearly to provide a greater degree of public health and safety.

As of July 2011 in South Carolina just within the past 6 months, there has been a total of 280 recorded sewage overflows (sewage pipes are containers) spilling 1,870,154 gallons of sewage into neighborhoods, rivers, and streams, etc.  Extrapolating these numbers from a state level to the country level that comes to approximately 900 billion gallons of estimated waste water overflows that is introduced into our public trust waters illegally.  Each open container found in a vehicle is subject to a fine of let's say a national average of $100.00 per container.

As of February 2011, the public portion of the overall debt is 9.6 trillion.

900 billion gallons x 128 ounces/gallon = 115.2 trillion ounces of sewage overflow.

Using just 1% of the motor land vehicle open container fine amount we get a 0.08333333333 $/ounce fine.

115.2 trillion ounces sewage overflow * 0.08333333333 $/ounce = $9.6 trillion

Ironically, the total amount of potential fine revenue for sewage overflows is the same as the "publically" held portion of the federal budget deficit.  If the provisions of the Clean Water Act were enforced there may be an opportunity to balance the "publics" portion of the federal budget deficit while at the same time send a notification to those who pollute our public trust waters that we are watching out not only for the fishable and swimmable aspects of our waterbodys but also our health.

-Santee Riverkeeper

HR 2018

HR 2018 threatens the Environmental Protection Agency's authority of enforcement actions when an entity pollutes the environment and gives that authority to the states.  This legislation is a step backwards to the days prior to the Clean Water Act. Comparitively, on January 1, 1994,  Canada, Mexico and United States entered into a agreement named the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) which is an environmental agreement between the United States of America, Canada and Mexico as a side-treaty of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In effect, the creation of the NAAEC acknowledged the need for a cooperative commission for the protection of the North American environment in a similiar manner the Clean Water act granted the authority of the EPA to protect the public trust waters of the United States. The passage of HR 2018 in the House clearly demonstrates an attempt by those supporting this bill to circumvent the Clean Water Act that was clearly created to protect the public trust waters of the United States and thus the health of its people.

Toxic Waste Dump Checkpoint (near Rimini, SC)

According to my research, it has been 32 years since some of the first synthetic liners were installed at the toxic waste dump located near Rimini, SC. Also, according to the research those liners are warranted for only 50 years.

I have spoken with a state authority responsible for managing and maintaining the monitoring wells in and surrounding the toxic waste dump near Rimini, SC and according to them the measurements from the samples are within tolerance.

On the other hand, my opinion is that once ground water contamination occurs it is too late.  We have a zero tolerance campaign for littering.  How about a zero tolerance campaign for toxic waste dump contamination of groundwater?

Dedicated to U!

Dedicated to U!

The 3rd Annual Santee Riverkeeper Waterbody Rally is dedicated to U.  You are the one who loves water.  You are the one who walks the shores and picks up garbage.  You are  the one who says "pick that up."  You are the one who silently picks it up.  You are the one who notices.  You are the one that recycles.  You are the one who designs products with the environment in mind.  You are the one who buys products with the environment in mind.  You are the one who adjusts the burners to optimize the vortex.  You are the one who turns the light off when not in that room.  You are the one who plants.  You are the one who harvests.  You are the one who writes the memo.  You are the one who reads it.  You are the one who takes action.  You are the one who volunteers.  You are the one who donates.  You are the one who knows why.  You are the one who is curious and asks why.  You are the one who takes measurements.  You are the one who reads gauges.  You are the one who writes the rules & regs.  You are the one who enforces them.  You are the one who doesn't want credit but only wants to make a difference.  You are a responsible water shed citizen.  Clean water is not a gamble.  It is due to the efforts of all of U and the reason: Clean Water.  Here's to U.

-Santee Riverkeeper

Thermal Refuges (1 Reason)

Chapel Branch probably once was a thermal refuge during the hot summer months for whatever population amounts of the short-nosed sturgeon that still exist in Lake Marion. As of 1998, there were no accurate population estimates of the short-nosed sturgeon within the Santee River, Lake Marion, or Lake Moultrie. [1]

The cool water that flows from an underground artesian well at the head waters of Chapel Branch near Santee, South Carolina was a perfect place for the sturgeon to escape the warm waters of the lake during the summer months. However, at least for the past seventeen years the problem is that the creek has been filled in with storm water sediment and now there exists only a narrow channel approximately 15 feet wide and approximately 2 feet deep during the summer months. Flowing through two storm water pipes storm water is excavating and dumping sediment originating from the streets of Town of Santee and a gulch between Interstate 95 and Bass Drive. The flow of the creek has been all but dammed by the sediment.

The Lake Marion population segment of short-nosed sturgeon is considered land-locked. [1]

Other Reasons:

There are also other factors pertinent to the population decline of the short-nosed sturgeon: the introduction of invasive species that create predatory competition with the sturgeon (certain species of catfish), contaminants that interfere with reproduction (PCB's, waste water effluent), hydrological barriers that prevent the natural migration of the sturgeon (dams), and capture from fishing (bait and hook), etc. [1]

Populations Trends for Short-nose Sturgeon in NC, SC.

  • Winyah Bay, Waccamaw, Pee Dee, Black Rivers; SC, NC: unknown trend [1] [A].
  • Santee River (SC): unknown trend [1] [A].
  • Cooper River (SC): unknown trend [1] [A], 100-300 fish in recent years [3].
  • ACE Basin (Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers; SC): unknown trend [1] [A].

The short-nose sturgeon was listed as endangered throughout its range on March 11, 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 (a predecessor to the Endangered Species Act of 1973). The NMFS later assumed jurisdiction for short-nose sturgeon under a 1974 government reorganization plan outlined in Federal Register Id (38 FR 41370). [4]

References: 
[1] http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/recovery/sturgeon_shortnose.pdf 119 pages.
[2] National Marine Fisheries Service. 1998. Recovery Plan for the short-nose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). Silver Springs, Maryland. 104 pages.
[3] National Marine Fisheries Service. 2004. Biennial Report to Congress on the Recovery Program for Threatened and Endangered Species, October 1, 2002-September 30, 2004. Washington (DC): Department of Commerce.
[4] http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/shortnosesturgeon.htm 1 page.
[A] extinct or not measured or can't seem to locate (MB)


ChapelBranchDammed

If there are any errors or ommissions, please contact Riverkeeper@SanteeRiverkeeper.org.