CLEMSON — Do you know what happens to local rivers and streams if lawns are over-fertilized or motor oil is washed down storm drains?CarolinaClear-logo

Carolina Clear, Clemson University’s stormwater pollution education and awareness program, wants to gauge what Upstate-area residents understand about water quality and what effects their actions can have on it.

During the next four weeks, through a partnership between Clemson University and George Mason University, students will conduct telephone surveys in Pickens and Anderson counties to understand what information and educational programs are needed to help protect the area’s water resources.

The surveys will be conducted from 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Each survey is designed to last no longer than 15 minutes. The goal is to have 400 residents complete the survey.

The purpose of the surveys is three-fold, said Katie Giacalone, Carolina Clear’s statewide coordinator.

First, the surveys will yield a better understanding of how South Carolinians utilize local waterways, whether for recreation, fishing, commercial means or other uses. This information helps watershed managers know who their audiences are and how much they value clean water, Giacalone said.

Second, the survey will illustrate what people know about how their individual actions affect local water quality, for better or worse.

“Whether we know it or not, we all generate polluted runoff,” Giacalone said. “From not picking up after our dogs to coolant that drips from our car, stormwater pollution is people pollution and we all can play a meaningful role in keeping South Carolina’s waters clean.”

The third way the survey will be utilized is to measure program impact over time, which is meaningful for federal stormwater regulatory compliance, she said.

Through area consortia and local partnerships, Carolina Clear works with communities to meet these permit requirements, and in the end minimize polluted stormwater runoff by educating and involving the general public and specific audiences about how to keep water in the state’s streams, rivers and basins clean for now and future generations.

Carolina Clear’s Upstate consortiums are Pickens County Stormwater Partners and the recently formed Anderson County Stormwater Partners.

Carolina Clear has conducted similar surveys in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Grand Strand.

Preliminary results from the survey will be available to the public this spring through the Carolina Clear website, local newsletters and presentations.  A full report will be published in the summer.

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Carolina Clear
Carolina Clear is a stormwater education and awareness program of the Clemson University Restoration Institute and the Center for Watershed Excellence carried out through the Clemson Extension. The program’s goal is to minimize polluted stormwater runoff by educating the general public, youth, builders, developers, homeowners and government officials about how they can keep water in the state’s streams, rivers and basins as clean as possible.