Asked and Answered: Is the Ogeechee River safe? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Asked and Answered: Is the Ogeechee River safe?


With Labor Day Weekend here, many people will be heading to the river to swim and fish, but one viewer has some concerns about the Ogeechee River.

WTOC Viewer Steve Tant lives on the Ogeechee River and wants to know if it is safe to swim and eat the fish in the waters, and most importantly, if he should allow his grandsons to swim in the river.

When this question was asked on my Facebook page, many were split on the issue. Some have no worries, some swim but don't eat the fish and others won't do anything.

It was just a few years ago that a massive fish kill ravaged the wild like, causing breathing and skin problems for people who were in the water at the time, and the waterway was closed to the public.

Now, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper said there are no lingering problems, but they are planning additional research and looking to see what Georgia Southern University produces in terms of data.

Meanwhile, Riverkeeper Emily Merkestyn wants to remind everyone that there risks involved with swimming and fishing in freshwater bodies.

Always keep flotation devices handy when boating or swimming, and wear appropriate footwear at all times while in the water.

If you have an open cut or sore, bandage it up completely before getting in the water and try to keep it dry. If a wound gets wet or if you sustain a cut or injury while in the water, take the time to thoroughly clean the wound when you get home.

Never drink untreated water directly from the river and always make sure fish are thoroughly cooked before consuming.

If you have any questions you'd like to get an answer to, email WTOC at or at

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