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North Myrtle Beach officials warn against swimming as flooded rivers empty into ocean

Swimming is not advised in the City of North Myrtle Beach, officials warned.

In the first round of ocean water sampling since Hurricane Florence, three out of 11 sites tested above the threshold set by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The tests check for enterococcus bacteria, which is often found in fecal matter. The threshold set by DHEC is 104.

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White Point Swash and 17th Avenue South tested at 108, and 30th Avenue North tested at 185, spokesperson Pat Dowling said.

Other sites tested between 30 and 85, which is higher then normal, but still below the threshold, Dowling said. Normally, sites test at 10 or lower for the bacteria, he said.

Despite runoff from rivers in North and South Carolina, ocean water sampling does not test for bacteria found in river water, which is brackish, a release states. Because of this, the city cannot test the short-term impact river water has on ocean water quality.

“We just think it’s smart if you don’t swim,” Dowling said.

Beaches remain open during this time. Further tests will be taken next week.

Coastal Carolina University tested ocean water Tuesday in Myrtle Beach, spokesperson Mark Kruea said, but DHEC was unable to complete testing.

Four locations from the CCU tests came back higher then normal, Kruea said.

Eighth Avenue North tested at 119, 64th Avenue North at 186, Cane Patch Swash at 145 and Bear Branch Swash tested at 110.

“With no additional rainfall this week, these locations would be expected to return to normal very quickly,” Kruea said in an email.

Kruea said DHEC’s testing period ends Oct. 1, but he believes it will continue for a few extra weeks as a precaution.

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