NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The push for
pricey projects continues. Grand Strand cities have been spending millions on
underground pipes to take stormwater off of the beach, and dump it far out into
the ocean. But now it's getting harder to keep the ocean clean.
The City of Myrtle Beach has postponed its
planned outfall project for this year because of the higher-than-expected price
of construction. In North Myrtle Beach, an outfall project is about to begin,
but at a big cost.
outfall projects have been happening for 10 years, but now things are changing.
The first four underground stormwater pipes in North Myrtle Beach cost $15
million total to install, but this latest project will cost more than $9
million by itself. Part of the reason is because larger pipes are being used,
but it's also because of new rules affecting cities all along the South
Instead of a blanket permit from the Army
Corps of Engineers, these projects now have to go through the complicated
process of getting a federal permit and permission from different state
"Each outfall now must undergo individual
environmental and other reviews prior to the issuance of a federal permit, plus
SC DHEC and Ocean and Coastal Resource Management agencies are now involved,"
said North Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Pat Dowling.
This can stretch the
length of the process to up to two years, which means more money, because the price of
construction continues to go up. The taxpayer's pocket also gets affected
because the stormwater fees go toward the multi-million dollar projects. Cities
along the Grand Strand are in a difficult position to try and keep the
everybody knows that if suddenly your ocean waters become known as bacteria-ridden, then people will go elsewhere," explained Dowling. "And if they go
elsewhere, everybody suffers."
The City of Myrtle Beach Hopes to start its
ocean outfall project next year, if it's affordable. In North Myrtle Beach,
there are eight more ocean outfall projects that need to be done in the future.
The city just collects the money and does the projects whenever it's possible.
But in the meantime, there are efforts to work for additional money from state
and federal levels.
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