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Veterans help test CSRA water quality to keep public safe

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There’s an update out on water quality alerts across the river region. The Savannah River Keeper says high levels of E. Coli are in Betty’s Branch, Stevens Creek, the Savannah River at the Boathouse, and the new Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.

Crews stay busy all week long testing the water at twenty different sites to help keep us all informed and safe. But sometimes they do get a little help. We’re taking a look at how our local veterans are getting in on the action.

“This could be you every Thursday, kayaking, sampling the water, and enjoying fellowship with other vets,” said Truck Carlson.

Truck Carlson not only works for the Savannah Riverkeeper but he serves as the program coordinator for Veterans for Clean Water.

“While we’re in uniform we’re serving our country, we’re part of something bigger than ourselves, and this program gives veterans the opportunity to serve again,” said Carlson.

A veteran himself, Carlson says this group goes beyond just checking oxygen levels and testing the water for bacteria.

“The water sampling is great, the science is fun even for a marine, but there is something healing about being on the water. The comradery between brothers and sisters on the water. Some of these vets will talk more on the water than they do in a week,” said Carlson.

Ben Streubel, an army vet, has been a part of the group for two years now. He says he got involved as a way to give back to the community but noticed he’s getting something in return.

“Biggest thing about the military is the comradery, and when you get out you leave some of that behind, and coming out with these guys is probably my favorite part,” said Streubel.

Carlson says what they are doing is much needed therapy.

“It’s a great exercise, great for your core, great for your shoulders, but probably best for your mind,” he said.

There were only a couple veterans in this week’s water testing but Carlson says around 40 vets are in the group. He says organizations like this are saving lives.

“The same hand they rose to serve our country is now taking their lives so there is a need out there and I really believe volunteering is a big part in feeling that need,” he said.

Streubel encourages all veterans to get out and join them.

“That’s the biggest thing, don’t be closed in, come out, give it a try,” he said.

Savannah Riverkeeper website is where you can find the results of the water test. They update it weekly. More about veterans for clean water can be found there as well.

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