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Myrtle Beach Area Water Quality Update

There have been recent reports that have provided misleading and false information to visitors and locals regarding the Myrtle Beach area's water quality.   

During the summer months, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and Coastal Carolina University (CCU) perform twice-weekly water quality tests on a number of swash/stormwater outfall locations throughout the entire Myrtle Beach area.

Just like any other beach destination, bacteria levels in water will be elevated immediately after a rainstorm, which creates ground run-off into the ocean.  Take a look at recent test results at for our beach areas.  You’ll note that the bacteria levels return to normal levels within hours after rainfall has passed over the specific area.  In addition, you’ll see that the spikes in elevation for bacteria are directly tied to a day of rainfall and ground run-off – and at all other non-rain times, water quality levels remain very good (and well within state approved standards).

The facts are:

1. All Myrtle Beach area beaches are open.
2. Water quality for beaches throughout the entire Myrtle Beach area is very good.
3. Water quality testing occurs twice a week during the summer and results are posted on SCDHEC’s website
4. Rainstorms create runoff and can temporarily increase the bacteria count in the water.
5. If testing is done immediately after a rainfall, bacteria levels will be temporarily elevated.
6. Within up to 72 hours or less, the water quality levels for our beaches return to their normal levels (and well within state guidelines).
7. Long-term advisories are put in place to encourage people not to swim within 200 feet of tested swash/stormwater outfall areas during times immediately following rainstorms. This has been standard practice for many years.
8. SC DHEC has been issuing temporary swimming advisories a specific swash/stormwater outfall location when bacteria levels are elevated after rainstorms, and then lifting them the next day or so when bacteria levels decrease. See news releases.  

These continued water quality tests confirm what most of us already knew: The ocean water throughout the Myrtle Beach area is clean and safe. This fact was never in question. 

For additional information on the water quality of the Myrtle Beach area, go to

For additional information:

MBACC Media Release: The Myrtle Beach Area’s Best-Kept Secret is Out - Glistening, Clean Ocean Waters Beckon Spring/Summer Visitors and Locals

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce responds to water quality report

Myrtle Beach area beaches test safe for swimming; social media buzz false