NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Two sections in North Myrtle Beach were under a swim advisory Thursday, an alert just recently lifted by DHEC.
DHEC released the details regarding the affected areas Wednesday evening which includes 200 feet above and below the beach access at Third Avenue North, and 200 feet above and below the beach access at 17th Avenue South.
In a statement released by DHEC, a local representative explained high bacteria levels have been detected in this section. "Swimming is not advised until bacteria levels return to normal," added Sean Torrens of DHEC's Region 7 Environmental Quality Control office.
Luckily it didn't take long for that to happen.
According to Torrens, it was safe to wade, collect shells and fish within the swimming advisory area. "To guard against the possibility of swallowing the water, it's best if people don't put their head under water," Torrens said. "People with open cuts or other wounds should also avoid contact with the water."
Beachgoers on Thursday were concerned and were surprised they had not learned about it before. "Oh I mind. I definitely mind. It's kind of irritating that nobody knows about it," said Craig Parrot.
A local representative for DHEC explained he personally placed the signs near each of the beach access last night and said overnight storms could have blown them away. In addition to the signs, DHEC contacted the media immediately to help notify the public.
Spokesman for the City of North Myrtle Beach, Pat Dowling, says lifeguards reported to him Thursday afternoon that a DHEC truck and crew showed up about around noon at both bacteria alert sections on the beach, removed the signs, and drove off.
Over the summer, DHEC conducts weekly water testing. Tuesday's test with showed high levels of bacteria in both areas and was likely a result of storm runoff caused Tuesday's mid-day heavy rain fall.
Now that the bacteria levels are back to normal, swimmers can take full advantage of the beach and enjoy the coast with any worries.