COLUMBIA, S.C. – DHEC says a section of beach along the Grand Strand was temporarily placed under a temporary swimming advisory for high bacteria levels on Thursday and lifted Friday.
“The area affected is at 16th Avenue North in North Myrtle Beach,” said Sean Torrens of DHEC’s Pee Dee Environmental Affairs office in Myrtle Beach. “High bacteria levels have been detected in this section of beach, and swimming is not advised until bacteria levels return to normal.”
On Friday, the city announced that SC DHEC backup testing of the ocean water sampling site at 16th Avenue North shows bacteria counts have returned to levels that allow for safe swimming. The temporary swimming advisory sign located there was also removed.
Test results for Thursday came in well below the safe bacterial level at 52 units.
“Spikes in bacteria can come from a wide variety of locations, including material being carried by currents from other areas,” the city of North Myrtle Beach stated below their Facebook post. “They are usually gone very soon after they are tested, but the process of retesting and waiting for the results extends the advisory time frame.”
Routine sampling Wednesday yielded 987 units of bacteria according to the department’s website. DHEC’s website says that swimming is not advised if the bacteria measurement is greater than 104. The sample collected Tuesday was more than nine times higher than that threshold.
All of the other samples collected in June were below the 104 unit threshold, the website confirms.
According to the press release, DHEC staff will be placing temporary signs at the location, but it is safe to wade, collect shells and fish within the swimming advisory area.
A post on the City of North Myrtle Beach Facebook page says the affected area includes 200 feet on either side of the sign posted. The city also says additional sampling was conducted Thursday and results should come in Friday. If the results are good, the sign will be removed.
You can see recent water sampling results on DHEC’s website here.