MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Local leaders along the coast say they think the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s swim advisory maps are misleading, now many are hoping to work with the DHEC on new maps.
“By the way the maps read, it looks like the entire beach is closed,” said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. “It hurts our economy because people get the wrong idea that bacteria are bad all over the beach and that’s not what actually happens.”
“It's not really reflective of the actual size of the advisory. We’re interested in being accurate and providing the best information to the public, but when you look at the map online on DHEC’s website it looks like half of Myrtle Beach is covered and that’s not the case. The advisories will cover a 400-foot section of the beach, 200 feet north, 200 feet south. The dot itself looks like it covers three miles and that’s not an accurate representation of the truth,” said Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea.
Swimming advisories are usually put in place in some areas of the beach after a lot of rain. That’s because water from the city’s drains makes it’s way into the ocean and contaminates it. The Department of Health and Environmental Control regularly checks for bacteria and when levels are too high, they’ll issue an advisory.
“DHEC does a great job putting the information out there. We want to put that out to the public but when you look at your computer or your phone you see this giant dot, it’s misleading,” said Kruea.
DHEC Spokesman Tommy Crosby explains they’re going to take feedback from local leaders and see if there’s a way they can better inform the public, but as of right now, there’s no plan to change the computer application they use to put out those maps.