CHERRY GROVE, SC (WMBF) – There is new high-tech equipment installed along three piers in Horry County to keep track of what's in the coastal waters.
A group of local city and county leaders recently partnered with Coastal Carolina University in a joint effort to monitor the quality of ocean water along Long Bay through the Long Bay Hypoxia Monitoring Consortium.
Coastal Carolina University's Environmental Quality laboratory has worked with the cities of North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach, and Horry County to establish ocean water quality and weather monitoring stations.
This group has put up the funds to pay for the $225,000 worth of equipment and will cover the $120,000 in annual operation costs.
In a market where tourism is the economic driving force, city officials say monitoring our ocean waters is a must.
"It is the reason why everyone comes to Myrtle Beach. We need to make sure our water are as clean, as safe as we think they are, and as they possibly can be. We'll start establishing a stream of information, and will help us protect the Atlantic Ocean here at Long Bay," said City of Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea.
The systems are located at three fishing piers along the Grand Strand: Cherry Grove Pier, Apache Pier and Second Avenue Pier.
The monitoring stations measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity, and acidity (pH) in the surface and bottom waters at the seaward ends of the piers. Water depth is also being reported.
The weather information being relayed includes air temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity. The municipalities are cooperating in this initiative to support ongoing efforts at protecting and enhancing water quality as part of their stormwater management programs. This includes providing public access to local ocean water quality and weather information.
Interest in conducting this work was stimulated by the recent discovery of unusually low oxygen levels in the near-shore waters along the Grand Strand.
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