On March 18th, we reported a massive main sewage line collapse at 48th Avenue North and Kings Highway. Readers have asked us since, where did that sewage go?
Frontline staff in City of Myrtle Beach public works told us early a.m., “There is shit water running all the way down 48th into the canal behind Pine Lakes. A Sewer force main has broken. They can’t turn it off. The entire road at 48th where it meets Highway 17 is ripped apart.”
The canals (ditches) behind the spill can be seen on the map above, shaded blue, behind the red dot. Up to 200,000 gallons of raw sewage flowed down the street then went north and south into this watershed.
Back in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s when much of Pine Lakes was developed, no one could imagine 200,000 gallons of raw sewage going into these bodies of water. As such, there is no sewer drain in any of these water systems.
So where does this water go?
The watershed (in blue on the map above), now filled with sewage, will be running out at these locations beginning today until the entire spill finishes its course.
The city did hire Elvis Services, on the evening of the spill, to use the above trucks to pump out as much sewage as they could. These trucks however were built to pump out residential sewage systems found in older homes. The capacity to remove 200,000 gallons of raw sewage from a large body of water simply does not exist.
PROBLEMS WITH DHEC – GOVERNMENT COVERING FOR GOVERNMENT
There are signs at these drainage areas warning tourists and locals about high bacteria.
Problem is, however, the signs all face the oceanfront. Turning them west, so that beach goers could see them as they approach the beach, would be bad for tourism.
DHEC provides an online map that tells beachgoers about each beach’s water quality. Historically, the map would give you a one day reading of how high the bacteria was on that day. However, in the past two years, the City of Myrtle Beach government worked to get the map readings changed to five year averages.
Now, visitors on any given day can’t know what the reading is for that particular day.
SOMEONE HAS TO PAY!!!
Readers who followed comments on social media this past week felt like someone had to pay.
There are a few heads that may role. Surprisingly, those heads include the few Public Works team members that spoke with me off the record.
If Myrtle Beach City Government is able to determine who those sources are, they will likely be fired on the spot.
These heroes took great risks in speaking with us.
Others that could face consequences are the locals and tourists who choose to swim in these areas over the next few days. Temperatures are cool, so the risks are limited. However, anyone swimming in these areas could suffer flu like symptoms among several others. Skin Cellulitis is another possibility.
WHY DID STAFF TALK TO ONLY US? WHY NO OTHER MEDIA
A Tourist Tax collected by the City of Myrtle Beach and sent to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce garners about $24 million per year in taxes. One million of each of those dollars annually are then paid to the local T.V. stations and other local corporate media for “out of market” advertising. Historically, each station has been paid one million annually.
Some readers found it curious that none of the above covered this news item. In truth, those media outlets believe this news item is “bad for tourism.”
WHAT IS ACTUALLY BAD FOR TOURISM? BAD GOVERNMENT
The real problem is not the news story. The sewage spill happened and needs to be reported. The true problem is the way this issue is dealt with by city leaders. Here is what former City Manager John Pedersen had to say on Social Media this week.
FORMER CITY MANAGER: SEWER LINES ARE NOT BREAKING… NO HUMAN WASTE IS MAKING IT TO THE BEACH
The aging sewer main on 48th Avenue North was patched, not replaced. The patched area is now strong.
However, the entire main is old and will collapse in other areas soon. Per city staff, the minute they sealed the leak and sewage began to flow again, a sewer line collapsed on 53rd.
Said the front line staff at around 6 p.m., “They just fixed it and turned the pumps back on and another one blew on 53rd blvd.“
City government says these old sewer lines do not leak before they collapse.
Above are pictures of the actual sewer pipes taken from the ground in 2017. These pipes never leaked before they collapsed???
We asked John Pedersen on Thursday right after the spill: “Where is the human sewage leak headed?
Pedersen refused to answer our question of where the 200,000 gallons of raw sewage was headed. He went silent on social media shortly afterwards.