WMBF Investigates: Water quality at Lake Broadway, NMB Sports Complex

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A WMBF News Viewer recently presented the investigative unit with a simple question: is the water in the pond at Broadway at the Beach tested and required to meet certain standards? The viewer pointed out the pond is used for recreation with the boat rides. Lake Broadway, as it is called, is the 23-acre centerpiece of an attraction that hosts millions of guests every year, according to the Burroughs & Chapin Company.

We reached out to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control and found out the answer was just a simple as the question. The pond is not a regulated natural swimming area. DHEC does not have data on it.

We've asked Burroughs & Chapin if it does any water quality management on the pond. A Burroughs and Chapin spokesperson provided the following response: "Lake Broadway is a man-made lake. No one is permitted to swim in the Lake. Broadway at the Beach maintains the lake per DHEC standards which require no testing because it is not a body of water used for swimming."

WMBF News Investigates took the question a step further after another viewer asked about the water feature at North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex. That is a DHEC-regulated natural swimming area, meaning it's required to submit samples twice monthly.

The samples are analyzed for E. Coli. If the sample is greater than 349 colonies per 100 mL of water, the area must be closed.

Nine of the 14 samples collected in North Myrtle Beach in 2017 didn't have a detectable level of E. Coli colonies, including both in July. The highest colony count this year was 7.3 on June 7, one-fiftieth the allowable limit.

A city spokesman says North Myrtle Beach installed two deep water wells to feed the lake and encourage water turnover when it bought the property. If test results were to approach the upper limits allowed, he says the city would cancel activity at the lake until test results showed they were back to normal levels.

DHEC tells WMBF News it has 14 water quality monitoring stations along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. There are no freshwater long term swimming advisories in the WMBF News viewing area. The area does have several mercury advisories for fish consumption.

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