MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A $10.3 million construction project kicks off on Tuesday to help protect your family while at the beach.
The Fourth Avenue North Deepwater Ocean Outfall Project is designed to collect storm runoff water and dump it far offshore. The goal is to protect the beach from erosion, maintain a higher standard for water quality and protect beach goers and wildlife from harmful bacteria.
"It makes you think about the environment," says Sameer Ahmed, visiting from Charlotte, North Carolina. "We're coming here to vacation or even living here and coming to the beach every day, we want to make sure it's safe for us."
This outfall project is important because when that runoff water pools on the beach, it creates a hazardous breeding ground for bacteria. According to DHEC, water testing sites along Myrtle Beach tested hazardous levels of bacteria 45 times last year. That prompted the city to post advisory signs at each stormwater pipe. This ocean outfall project will keep the beaches clean from any pooling water.
"Actually I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't know about the advisory," says Chris Chambers, visiting from Wake Forest, North Carolina. "I mean I know the sign, I know it's pooling up there, and I know it smelled, but I didn't realize the water itself is under an advisory. So having two children of my own and knowing that we're swimming in the water that's dirty – I'm a little embarrassed. So I am looking forward to having cleaner water in the future."
The ocean outfall will collect water from 87 acres between Ninth Avenue North and First Avenue South. That water will be funneled into a massive drainage basin at Fourth Avenue and then channeled underneath the beach through pipes that are 7 feet in diameter. As the water travels through the pipes, it is filtered multiple times. Filtering the water will protect the ocean from any oil, grease, litter or trash that might be in the runoff water. The water is then dumped 1,100 feet offshore.
The project should be complete in November 2015. Until then, one way to check if any of the beaches or water are under an advisory is to keep tabs on the DHEC online water advisory map.