City of MB set to open bids for Ocean Outfall project Thursday

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Beach-goers complain every year about the giant drains that spit out stormwater into the ocean where they swim. So the city is working to get rid of those drainage pipes and replace them with deep water ocean outfall pipes that send the water under the beach, under the ocean and out for about 1,000 feet.

City Spokesman Mark Kruea says the main purpose of the outfall project is to make sure rainwater goes where they want it to go. Myrtle Beach is flat, so when the rain falls on streets, roofs and parking lots, it has to have somewhere to go. So there are storm drains, and those currently lead to a series of drainage pipes that line the shore. When it rains, that is part of what beach-goers are swimming in.

That's why there are signs by the drainage pipes on the shore now that warn of higher levels of bacteria due to storm water runoff. Those signs also suggest swimmers stay 100 feet away in both directions.

The city has already installed three deep water ocean outfall drains.

The city took bids for the outfall project last year. It had secured an $8 million loan, but the bid from the only contractor who submitted one was $11 million, so the city did not go forward with the project.

The City secured a loan for about $13 million this year - a low-interest loan that will be paid off with stormwater fees, which are included in the stormwater utility bill people who live in the city pay each month.

There are plans for several more outfall pipes to be built at some point.

Kruea says the main reason for the project is to prevent flooding, to improve the appearance, and to improve ocean water quality.

The project will go out for bid to two pre-qualified contractors on Thursday, May 8 2014. If the city accepts the bid, construction will start off the beach on September 2, 2014. Construction will start on the beach and into the ocean on October 1, 2014, and is expected to end November 24, 2015.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.