City of MB answers questions of lingering foul odor

Published: Aug. 18, 2011 at 2:33 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2011 at 1:07 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Viewers have been talking about interesting smells at different times in various areas in Myrtle Beach, and WMBF News has narrowed down two separate areas where the smell is coming from.

One of the areas starts at Restaurant Row, and stretches for 10 miles down to around 62nd Avenue. The other area is along Highway 17 near Mister Joe White Avenue.

The culprit from Restaurant Row to 62nd Avenue? It's the City's sewer lines. Although the City injects chemicals into the lines to calm down the odor, they claim it's impossible to take the odor away completely.

Mark Kruea, spokesman for the City of Myrtle Beach, said the smell has been around and is just a fact of modern life.

"We've not had complaints of late about this, it is something that comes up from time to time," Kruea said. "We've just not had anybody mention it lately. Because we've done a good job of controlling the smell."

The City stressed that even though we can still smell the odor, that doesn't mean the chemical treatment products aren't working. If the City were to put more chemicals into the sewer lines, then the sewage wouldn't be able to decompose.

The culprit along Highway 17? The answer involves a little history. 40 years ago up until 2006, one third of the City's waste was processed right at the Wastewater Treatment Facility Compost, owned by the Grand Strand Sewer and Water Authority.

The Grand Strand Sewer and Water Authority purchased the facility in 2006. Officials say their main priority is to clean out the lagoon, which will help with the smell.  They've been working on that every day since 2006, and they expect to be finished within the next two years.

"Until those solids are gone, I don't think we can safely say that there will be no more odors from the lagoon," said Irv Wooley, Chief of Utility Operations. "But once we get it down well below the water surface, all across the entire lagoon."

Until then, residents will just have to deal with the smell.

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