Myrtle Beach Battles Back Against “Dirty Water” Claims

TOURISM MAFIA ANGRY OVER NEGATIVE COVERAGE … With recessionary fears already threatening to take a bite out of projected tourism revenues this year, officials in Myrtle Beach, S.C. are working overtime to dispel concerns regarding “dirty water” on the city’s beaches. We addressed these concerns previously (here and here). The website…


With recessionary fears already threatening to take a bite out of projected tourism revenues this year, officials in Myrtle Beach, S.C. are working overtime to dispel concerns regarding “dirty water” on the city’s beaches.

We addressed these concerns previously (here and here). The website driving the narrative (effectively, we’d add)?

Rushing to the city’s rescue?  The local mainstream media … which ran a “news story” this week warning readers that a “viral blog post could hurt tourism.”


Not the dirty water?

According to WBTW TV 13 (CBS – Florence/ Myrtle Beach, S.C.), this “viral” coverage of the city’s water quality “has prompted some visitors to re-think their vacation plans.”

“For a visitor from Ohio or Pennsylvania who doesn’t understand the difference between a long term advisory and a no swim advisory, it can be easily confused,” Brad Dean, leader of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) told reporter Brennan McDavid.  “Sadly this kind of misinformation which was propelled on the internet can have an impact on our spring and summer travel if we aren’t proactively addressing it.”

And of course in South Carolina, “proactively addressing” means spending your tax dollars – even though it’s abundantly clear tourism marketing is not a core function of government.   The MBACC doesn’t even have to ask for the money – it flows directly into its coffers from taxpayers in the aftermath of the 2009 “Coastal Kickback,” which remains perhaps the most brazen pay-to-play campaign finance scandal we’ve ever seen.

According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), the city of Myrtle Beach began posting long-term swimming advisory signs at beaches in 2007.  Surfside Beach and Horry County began posting such signs in 2008.  A quick look at SCDHEC’s water quality website shows twenty-three beaches along the Grand Strand with swimming advisories currently in place.

SCDHEC will begin its monitoring for 2016 on May 1.

“We monitor the water quality at the beaches with long-term advisory signs, but we do not issue temporary advisories because signs are already posted,” an SCDHEC spokesperson told us.  “Although these beaches have long-term advisory signs, the majority of the water quality samples we collect at these beaches does not exceed the state standard for bacteria levels. If bacteria are found to be greater than the state standard, we issue a temporary advisory for that portion of the beach.”

SCDHEC said an advisory means the agency “advises individuals not to swim in the area 200 feet on either side of the sign.”

“Advisories do not mean that the beach is closed,” the spokesperson added. “Wading, fishing, and shell collecting do not pose a risk.”

Myrtle Beach 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 this project isn’t helping the problem – even as tourism leaders like Dean are touting its benefits to water quality.

“This system does nothing more than pump storm water with higher concentrated bacteria levels farther out to sea,” local activist David Hucks wrote recently in an email to his supporters.

Obviously we’ll continue to keep tabs on this issue as the 2016 tourism season ramps up …

We’ll also continue to remind our readers that tourism marketing efforts should be subsidized exclusively by those businesses deriving an economic benefit from such expenditures – not by taxpayers.


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Marleny Hensley Hucks March 17, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Brad Dean obviously never read the investigative report by or he would have known DHEC changed their language for both terms were used by DHEC as even reported on at the time. Notice Dean never mentions that WMBF, WPDE, and WFXB wrote on the advisory calling it a no swim advisory or no swimming advisory but for some reason there is an obviously singling out of one news media. I am amazed that city leaders like Kruea and Dean don’t seem to have knowledge about DHEC nor what has been covered publicly. How can there be any confidence about the city’s leadership with they seem so removed by the facts?

Sic Semper Tyrannis March 17, 2016 at 2:52 pm

The ocean is fine, but there are crabs all over the toilets. Wonder what it would look like in the rooms with csi type lights?

shifty henry March 17, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Your guy is just down the highway — look him up. In fact there is an article on Fitsnews about him and his cohorts: Edward Phipps, who might take it on as a public service.

RogueElephant March 17, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Do they now have a T-bone Shitwater in MB ????

Tazmaniac March 17, 2016 at 3:50 pm

It would look a lot like this.

Sic Semper Tyrannis March 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm

You showed me that before I think. Long time since I’ve stayed in a hotel-motel.

Tazmaniac March 17, 2016 at 4:07 pm

I have posted that before. I can watch that once a month and still laugh like Hell. I stay in hotels 4-6 times a year and TRY to stay in better corporate type ones but if I check in and don’t like the room I check right back out and sleep in my truck if needed.

shifty henry March 17, 2016 at 4:27 pm

I love it..!!

erneba March 17, 2016 at 3:15 pm

I would not refuse to go to Myrtle Beach because of microbes in the water, it is the vermin on the streets that bother me.

Tazmaniac March 17, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Give me the good ole Catawba any day. Kayak season is here and I just got a new Old Town fishing model. Going to camp on one of the little islands in Rock Hill this year.

erneba March 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Yeah I have always been partial to the hills and mountains for a get-a-way.

shifty henry March 17, 2016 at 6:06 pm

me, too — but I’ll make an exception when I date a girl who looks great in a bikini…

erneba March 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Wimins can wear bikinis in the mountains.
That cool, fresh air makes things stand up and out.

TroubleBaby March 17, 2016 at 3:28 pm

What MB needs is a PSA, funded by taxpayer dollars of course, to mitigate the issue of fecal bacteria in storm runoff flowing out into the ocean.

Because I’m a helper, I’d like to suggest the following for example:

“The taste of various coliform present from time to time in our lovely beach water can be washed away by gargling with beer.(don’t swallow it though!) If you have open sores or wounds, we’d recommend something a bit more stout, like Barcardi 151 poured directly on the sore/wound.”-MBACC

You can run this PSA on local radio stations and on taped loops on various hotel TV’s around the city.

Problem solved!

Can I get a consultation fee like Haley(LMC) from someone tied to MBACC now for my brilliant work?

shifty henry March 17, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Well, we now know that Fits is being read….

TroubleBaby March 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Wow, DHEC just threw the whole tainted beach water map right down the memory hole!

It’s funny to see how FITSnews has bureaucrats hopping around like headless chickens.

Rooster March 18, 2016 at 9:26 am

We come to the Royale Palms Hilton every august from ohio and have an open house for our kids and grandkids to come over during our 2 week stay. We’ve usually gone to clearwater in florida but the drive to myrtle is better for all. I started to follow this water quality issue only a couple of months ago, and maybe never would have known about this until a story popped up on a search for new fun stuff to do. I live in land locked central ohio, but have seen water quality issues on lake Erie go up and down with testing for a long time. It does not sound as though the powers that be in myrtle beach (horry county) have any desire on the scale necessary, to remedy the status quo!! Seeing the dates going back years w/no measurable improvments, is shocking when you think about this gift of a beautiful coastline driving your economy! Any water quality issues of any kind will drive us all away, even the red necks with little education will eventually opt for other
Beach towns when the infectious puss levels in their cellulitis reaches an unsafe level!!! I guess I would like to ask this publication or Anyone from the local community if they see things changing for the better anytime soon? We LOVE MYRTLE but this will drive us away !! And we and our friends and family spend a great deal of $$$$ when in town. Here’s hoping for a cleaner ocean off our FAVORITE BEACH!!!

sparklecity March 21, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Sadly, you won’t be able to avoid polluted beaches like Myrtle Beach, it’s a simple equation: more people and their support structures = more feces. Fecal coliform and other bacteria counts are a result of not just people but dog & cat feces, runoff from lawns that have been overfertilized to make them look better, old leaking septic tanks, and the lack of natural filters (i.e. wetlands) due to excessive development to accommodate (guess what???===more people!!!!)
The pollution levels can be reduced but it takes more work and guess what??? more money!!!!
With an ever increasing population concentrated in the coastal areas more of this “shit” can be expected in the future unless a conscious effort is made (and it ain’t free sister………….)

LouieBuoy March 19, 2016 at 5:33 pm

MB is one of the nastier beaches! About 11 years ago, MB built one $million+ outfall pipe to move the street wash out a few hundred yards into the ocean, but have not repeated it along the strand as per the plan. Tip: Never ever let your children play in any drainage flowing into the ocean at any beach! And, never swim in the ocean within a hundred yards or more of any of these drainage flows.


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