The city of North Myrtle Beach has gotten $1.25 million from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to go toward the $9.5 million cost of the Main Street ocean outfall project.
State Rep. Tracy Edge, R-North Myrtle Beach, said in an email late Thursday afternoon that his efforts were critical in getting the money.
The city has the money in hand, and city spokesman Pat Dowling said it will be added to another $3 million in state money for the project. Edge said he snagged the first state funding for the city in 2008.
Dowling said the city didn’t know it would get the $1.25 million when it started the project, but could have gotten it from about a year’s revenue from the stormwater utility fee, a transfer from the city’s general fund or a short-term loan. Dowling said the DHEC funding came in two installments, the first in July 2013.
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Dowling said the Main Street outfall will be the city’s fifth to replace outfall pipes that were put in decades ago. The old pipes rest on top of the sand for the most part and drain into the swim zone. The near-shore drainage sends heavy stormwater flows into the swim zone after summer thunderstorms and causes spikes in coliform readings.
The readings, which if too high can close the beach to swimming, generate bad publicity nationally, Dowling said, and the city would like to change that.
The new pipes are much larger than the current pipes, buried underground, drain larger areas and deposit the effluent a quarter of a mile offshore.
Dowling said that North Myrtle Beach already has completed four other outfall replacement projects. The Main Street project will drain an area that now is served by six separate pipes.
Dowling said the city did its first four projects for $15 million. Since then, he said the state has added regulations that call for more filters and other things that add to the cost.
He said the city is looking for state and federal money to complete the new system along the length of North Myrtle Beach.
Dowling said the Main Street project is on schedule and should be completed in the winter of 2015.