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CCU lab director gives lowdown on beach swimming advisories

October 14, 2004

Find out how and why swimming advisories are issued along the Grand Strand at a public talk led by by Joseph Bennett, director of Coastal Carolina Universitys Environmental Quality Laboratory, on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the North Myrtle Beach Recreation Center. The talk, titled Swimming Advisories on the Grand Strand: What Causes These?,will be repeated on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Loris Center for Health & Fitness. Both are free and open to the public.

For the past seven years, Coastals Environmental Quality Lab has been collecting water samples from area beaches and analyzing them for bacteria. During spring through fall Bennett and his lab staff visit more than 40 beach sites between North Myrtle Beach and Garden City at least once each week to collect samples. In addition, every two weeks they visit 11 more sites between Murrells Inlet and Winyah Bay. The results of their analyses are reviewed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the agency that determines if bacteria levels warrant swimming advisories.

Bennett will talk about the sources and kinds of bacteria that affect area beaches, as well as the processes that govern the distribution of bacteria along the strand. The talk will include a question and answer period.

Bennett earned a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from the University of Washington and did postdoctoral research in geochemistry at Yale University.

This public discussion is one of a series of 50 such events planned during 2004-2005 by Coastals College of Natural and Applied Sciences to commemorate Coastals 50th anniversary.

For more information, call 349-2202.