“Dirty” Myrtle Beach’s Water Quality At Issue … Again

REDNECK RIVIERA BACK IN THE “SLIMELIGHT” This website has written previously on water quality issues in “The Dirty Myrtle” – a.k.a. Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Now these issues are back in the “slimelight,” so to speak. According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), multiple beaches along the…


This website has written previously on water quality issues in “The Dirty Myrtle” – a.k.a. Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Now these issues are back in the “slimelight,” so to speak.

According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), multiple beaches along the “Redneck Riviera” have been deemed unfit for public swimming due to elevated levels of bacteria.

To view the various warnings, which were first reported by the website MyrtleBeachSC.comclick here.

Nearly all of the warnings were concentrated in the Myrtle Beach area.  Most beaches to the north and south of the city limits were deemed safe for swimming.

“The most common recreational water illnesses are gastrointestinal and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fever,” SCDHEC’s warning noted. “These illnesses result from swallowing water contaminated by disease-causing organisms. Contact with contaminated water can also cause upper respiratory (ear, nose and throat), and wound infections. Young children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system are particularly vulnerable to recreational water illnesses.”

Yikes …

Obviously it’s still winter … so few people are on the beaches (and fewer still are in the water).  But this is an issue that could create real headaches for the Grand Strand as it seeks to lure increasingly cash-strapped tourists to the Palmetto coast during spring and summer months.

Of interest?  The city of Myrtle Beach, S.C. recently spent $11 million on a new “Ocean Outfall” project – one subsidized by a fee increase on residents’ water bills.  The firm which got the project – DDC Engineers – features S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) commission chairman Mike Wooten as its founding partner.

What kind of a guy is Wooten? Um, click here … 

Critics contend the new system is nothing but a costly gimmick.

“This system does nothing more than pump storm water with higher concentrated bacteria levels farther out to sea,” local activist David Hucks wrote in an email to his supporters this week.  “The greatest benefit of this system is that it allows the city to remove permanent signs from beachfront swashes.  Those signs previously warned residents and tourists about how high the bacteria levels were in those areas.  As our storm water now going out to sea remains untreated,  many residents believe the outfall systems are largely public relations tools.”


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euwe max March 1, 2016 at 10:25 am

Let Libertarians bid on strips of beach property extending 5 miles out to sea… they’ll take care of it, once they become owners…. for free.

TroubleBaby March 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Who allowed runoff into the beach waters where people swim to start, who can we sue?

euwe max March 2, 2016 at 10:25 am

If libertarians owned every strip of beach, sand and sea out to 5 miles, one of them would certainly have recorded any pollution event that affected their blue heaven, and with their enormous wealth and altruism, would do the research, identify and sue the perps out of their own pocket….

…and then skeet shoot the homeless.

TroubleBaby March 2, 2016 at 11:07 am

Property owners always weigh the pro and cons of any potential litigation and balance it with the impact on their person/property- when they have option.

euwe max March 2, 2016 at 1:06 pm

altruism will-out. The one immutable law of the universe is that the DNA in man is, above all, protective of the species at the expense of the individual.

TroubleBaby March 2, 2016 at 2:08 pm

altruism can’t be counted on, but self interest can

euwe max March 3, 2016 at 11:04 am

The god of self-interest serves chaos.

TroubleBaby March 3, 2016 at 11:59 am

Nah, it’s not in people’s self interest to create chaos. Most people desire calm, orderly society.

euwe max March 3, 2016 at 11:29 pm

There are physical laws… there is a gradient between fact and truth.. and there is the chaos of blind, random self-interest complicated by lack of education, the lizard brain and genetic mutation… Social, political, and materialist self-interest.

TroubleBaby March 1, 2016 at 10:39 am

Myrtle Beach reminds me of the Caddyshack swimming pool scene, just on a larger scale.

erneba March 1, 2016 at 1:30 pm

My son and I used to do that with a tootsie roll. You can roll them out in your hand shape them up, and then put it in the pool. Cleared a couple of pools using the tootsie roll.

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Beartrkkr March 1, 2016 at 9:00 pm

Doodie !!!

Nölff March 1, 2016 at 11:47 am

The water is full of AIDS and Cooties. Both on the beach and on tap.

Tazmaniac March 1, 2016 at 5:29 pm

You can fast track your demise by having sex during bike week in the water. Even faster if her old man catches you.

The Colonel (R) March 1, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Interesting that the alleged cause for the “…disease-causing organisms…” is thought to be run off after rainstorms (“…storm water…”) .

I wonder what would happen if DHEC looked into the conditions of septic tanks that are still allowed in Myrtle Beach:

According to DHEC, “…The SCDHEC reports that South Carolina has no sewers that combine storm water with wastewater…. If that is the case, what is the source of the “…disease causing organisms…” and why is it essential to push storm water (rain) further off shore.

Tazmaniac March 1, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Do they have any “Rent by the Hour” Hotels in the area? Might be pressure washing the bedding in the parking lot.

The Colonel (R) March 1, 2016 at 7:35 pm

To nasty to contemplate – even for Myrtle Beach…

euwe max March 2, 2016 at 10:28 am

that makes to of us.

Soft Sigh from Hell March 1, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Where the bacteria come from is always a big mystery, but it is always from someone else. Some blame it on the pet dogs. The dog owners blame squirrels, ducks, pigeons, etc. You would think it would be pretty easy to find out for a swash and storm sewer system.

The Colonel (R) March 1, 2016 at 7:34 pm

It’s not all that big a mystery, the trace marker is fecal coliform and as the name implies, it’s only found in feces (though it’s not the biggest threat as a biologic agent). There aren’t enough dogs or gulls in all of Myrtle Beach to cause the levels found in the water. They need to install a sewer system and limit development. Oak Island did so five years ago and hasn’t had a problem since.

Soft Sigh from Hell March 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Septic tank drainage into storm sewers seems just not that likely. And if it is significant, then the highest bacterial concentrations should be in dry weather, not in wet weather that would dilute it.

The Colonel (R) March 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Leaky systems just introduce it into the environment, rain water does the dispersal. The moist soils are sufficient to maintain the organisms once they’ve escaped flooded or damaged septic systems. A billion years ago I participated in a study of this very problem, oddly enough , in conjunction with WHor(e)ry County and the USC Marine Science program.

Buzz Martin March 2, 2016 at 9:13 am

Hah! ” … limit development.” Blasphemy to those who worship at the altars of “development” and “progress.”

The Colonel (R) March 2, 2016 at 9:36 am

Yeah, I knew it when I wrote it…

I can remember getting a thirty minute dressing down by the chair of the Marine Science program at USC when I suggested there was no reason to limit development at the beach – I was about 23 years old and didn’t know any better…

TroubleBaby March 1, 2016 at 1:41 pm

It may be just me, but isn’t outletting said bacteria laden runoff further out into the ocean an actual solution, and not a gimmick?

I’m not championing government created solutions for government created problems per se, I’m just curious.

jimlewisowb March 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Not very knowledgeable in this field however I have stood on a pier and watch the crap flow back toward the beach

My theory is that the turds are like salmon and they are returning home to spawn

TroubleBaby March 1, 2016 at 5:22 pm

I’m not knowledgeable in that field either…maybe it’s just a matter of piping the stuff out even further.

Maybe we can put signage up at the outflows that say “Golden Corral”, lure Chip Limehouse there, let’s him suck it all up and then air drop him 5 miles out or whatever it takes for the turds to stay out at sea instead of floating back.

Or maybe the turds breakup enough when sent far enough out where they’re indistinguishable in quantity (PPM?) from the fish turds that get sucked up by the ocean swimmers once they float back.

Who knows.

Buzz Martin March 2, 2016 at 9:11 am

Look at map of Long Bay. It’s a big one, but it is indeed a bay. The current outfall pump/barge system engineered by Mike Wooten in another of him myriad no-bid contract jobs, does not pump the bad water out beyond the bay area. Not even close. So, yeah, it flows right back to show, eventually. It’s a shoddy temporary fix for a problem that needs a permanent solution.

tomstickler March 1, 2016 at 2:31 pm

The North Myrtle Beach website that first reported this has been under cyber attack from some hacker in China since then.

Buzz Martin March 2, 2016 at 9:15 am

True. btw, it’s not an NMB site, it is centered in MB.

The site is back up again today. I write for it from time to time, as you know.

defcon5 March 1, 2016 at 6:01 pm

If Ohioans can catch a river on fire polluting myrtle beach is a piece of cake

gobacktoohio March 1, 2016 at 7:13 pm

How do you contain an oil slick ?

Peter Laung March 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm

We come to the Royale Palms Hilton every August w/our kids and grandkids. Evidently, I’ve had my head in the sand (npi), w/regard to the water quality . My question is” Isn’t this something that would require an immediate fix-action, not pumps and warm & fuzzy statements from the chamber of commerce??!” I think you believe , the hillbilly’ coming to this beach will forget about it, so why deal w/it? We come because of the easy drive. We’re at this moment,booking in Florida . Enjoy your poop swim! Goofball powers that be in horrible county!

jimlewisowb March 2, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Before you jump in the surf in Florida you may want to check out sites like this one:

There are several beaches in Florida that have poor quality and are posted with an Advisory warning


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