Locals and tourists disappointed Surfside Beach sand pumping has not started yet

Locals and tourists disappointed Surfside Beach sand pumping has not started yet
Equipment used for beach renourishment (Source: Holly DeLoache)
Equipment used for beach renourishment (Source: Holly DeLoache)

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Surfside Beach is finally getting a face lift nearly nine months after Hurricane Matthew, but some residents and tourists are disappointed it hasn't started yet.

Beach renourishment is about to begin on sand dunes near 6th Avenue North. Equipment was delivered last week and sand pumping is expected to begin next week, according to dredging officials who were at the site Friday.

The Town of Surfside Beach has been giving updates on the renourishment project via Facebook. On July 13, a post read, "Actual pumping of sand will not commence for approximately 8 days."

Eight days later, on Friday, many locals and tourists came to the pumping site expecting to see sand pumping but were quickly disappointed when they realized the pumping had not started.

"It should be interesting. I've never experienced it before, so I'll be back and forth checking it out all the time," said one local resident, Guy Frattini.

Sand pumping is the process of taking sand from the ocean floor and pumping it through a feeding pipe to replace the sand dunes on the shore.

This process is known for kicking up shells, which is why people were disappointed on Friday.

"They're all looking to find sharks teeth and all kinds of different shells that they normally don't find. I think you're going to find a lot of conch shells," Frattini said.

Once pumping starts, officials will head north to cover 500 feet a day, with 40,000 cubic yards of sand coming onto the shore daily.

Work on this section of the shore is expected to take 25 to 35 days, weather permitting.

The Town of Surfside Beach would like to share the reason for placing the feeding pipe on 6th Avenue North is because there is an "essential fish habitat," designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, just north of the pipe that extends all the way up the northern end of the project. They cannot cross the habitat, according to their Facebook.

For more information on sand pumping and beach renourishment, visit the Town of Surfside Beach's Facebook Page.

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