Several years ago MyrtleBeachSC.com was one of the first online news medias ambitious enough to disseminate information regarding the quality of the ocean water along the Grand Strand. At the time ridicule came from all sides, bombarding this news venue with accusations from being “fake news” to being financially motivated, to being called out right liars. Fortunately a small percentage of people actually took a moment and objectively reviewed the facts presented. These people remain loyal observers to the intent and content of this media. Unapologetically this venue’s purpose is not to cast judgement but to present facts. It is not to judge but to question. It is to shine the light into the dark places under the rocks and among the muck and mire of the swamp to be brought out, examined and then sanitized by fresh sea air and sunlight. This week many news media are calling attention to the ocean water issues as well.
There’s a fairly simple term used lately which many may wish to understand and dwell upon before they cast aspersions on ideals they do not believe or do not understand. It’s fairly simple. “Just because you do not believe it, does not mean it is not true.” In fact there are entire science lessons created from that basic premise. To this very day there are those which deny the Earth is round and that man has actually walked upon the moon. Currently myths and conspiracy theories are not among our topic list unless you find it under “entertainment”.
One recent fact is that the ocean water quality continues to be at the top of Myrtle Beach issues this past month. A mere week before Memorial Day scientific fact shows the SCDHEC bacterial count measured 2254.00 on May 21. A day later on May 22 it measured 1391.00. As numbers are only numbers without context, we will explain what these numbers mean.
On the SCDHEC site, there is a little yellow sentence which states: “Swimming is not advised if the ETCOC (enterococcus bacteria) measurement is greater than 104.”
The particular form of this enterococcus bacteria comes from the fecal matter of humans and other animals such as dog, cats, and birds. Not to be indelicicate, as “poop” is not on our everyday list of search words, but as the saying goes “poop does not run uphill.” Ideally human poop runs through sewage pipes, is contained and then passes on to the processing plant to be broken down, liquified and filtered . Animal poop runs from wherever it lands, and eventually into the roads, the holding ponds and then into the sewers and then into the ocean. And often, which has appeared to happen a few years ago and again this past week, a human poop pipe broke, (insert hysterical 12 year old kid laughter) and that human poop eventually may have found its way into the ocean as well.
Keep in mind that Myrtle Beach has a very significant homeless population issue. A large portion of these homeless have very limited if any amenities for sanitary human waste disposal. Numerous Myrtle Beach business owners have publically addressed the issue of human poop being found behind their buildings and in their alleyways. So far we’ve not located the department in charge of the “human poop scoop” in the directory of the City.
The contamination of the ocean by this bacteria, which can be deadly, affects living organisims from shellfish, to fish, to certain aquatic plants as well as humans.
Reviewing the bacterial count the past few weeks at only the Withers Swash testing area..
May 21 – 2254.
May 22 – 1391.
May 28 – 878.
May 29 – 1396
May 30 – 238.
It certainly appears the rates are falling in this area, only one of a dozen added to the long term swim advisory issued by SCDHEC this week. Contrary to those who believe we only look for the negative, we believe this is a great sign that things may continue to be better for the locals, businesses and tourists within the next few weeks as the summer ramps up. What we do take issue with is the City of Myrtle Beach continually blaming only the natural forces of the rain for the contamination when the bacterial runoff comes from poorly maintained man made and uncontrolled sources such as poor roads, unmaintained sewer lines, unmanaged holding ponds and unpatrolled homeless human waste in back alleyways and homeless encampments.
Many are unaware that Coastal Carolina University has been providing the SCDHEC ocean water analysis for years, at a high price to the taxpayers of the City. There are many scientific online studies and reports available listed below where the average reader can educate and inform themselves. Interestingly Mr. Kurea from the City of Myrtle Beach is quick to say the 100,000 GALLONS of raw sewage broke and leaked during the heavy rain this week, just a few blocks from the ocean, was “quickly contained”. Unanswered is why neither the SCDHEC nor Kurea will come out and blame the poop problem on City mismanagement no matter how it gets into the ocean supply except by the “nature” of the rain. If the bad rain does not cease soon or the City does not eventually address the real issues, Mr. Kurea and the City of Myrtle Beach will sooner or later be forced to acknowledge the scientific fact that “poop does not run uphill” and find themselves up a creek without a paddle.
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Lisa Bean Williams
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