According to a report by theNatural Resources Defense Council, the water quality at the beach on Sullivan's Island's ranks among the state's worst 10. Not only that, but the state itself didn't fare too well in the study, with the dubious distinction of having more than 10% of its samples with unsafe bacteria levels.
You can see the full report for yourself.
From The Post and Courier:
The report said Charleston County beaches overall showed bacteria problems in 8 percent of tests. Horry County had the worst numbers overall, 15 percent, with the state park beaches failing 20 percent of test samples. Sullivan’s Island had two days of beach closings; Folly Beach had one day.
The state Dept. of Health and Environmental Control says the results are misleading, though, and that there were issues in how the water samples were taken. The Post and Courier continues:
S.C. Health and Environmental Control said there are “significant discrepancies” in how Natural Resources Defense Council interpreted testing data for the report. Sullivan’s Island, for example, had only half the percentage of unsafe samples as the report indicates, said Clair Boatwright, public information director.
The report indicated that Sullivan’s Island beaches had unsafe bacteria levels in 15 percent of tests. DHEC counters that the island was tested 37 times with 3 tests showing unsafe bacteria levels — an 8 percent rate. Nearby Isle of Palms had 1 percent of its tests show unsafe bacteria, not 5 percent.
The environmental group, though, pointed things back at the EPA and local officials, saying the data used in the study came from them.