Criminal Defense Attorney inMyrtle Beach, SC

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CDH Law Firm: Giving Hope to
Criminal Defense Clients in
Myrtle Beach, SC

Getting charged with a crime in Myrtle Beach can be a traumatic experience. Even "petty" crimes can cause an individual's life to fall apart professionally and personally. Spending time in jail is bad enough, but the ramifications of a criminal record run deep, resulting in loss of employment, loss of friends, and even family. For many people, having a zealous criminal defense attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC, to defend their rights is the only shot they have of living a normal life.

That's why, if you have been charged with a crime, you need the help of a veteran criminal defense lawyer early in the legal process. That's where CDH Law Firm comes in to give you or your loved one hope when you need it the most.

Our criminal defense law firm was founded to help people just like you - hardworking men and women who are looking at diminished employment opportunities and a possible lifetime of embarrassment. But with our team of experts fighting by your side, you have a much better chance of maintaining your freedom and living a normal, productive life. When it comes to criminal law in Myrtle Beach, we've seen it all. With decades of combined experience, there is no case too complicated or severe for us to handle, from common DUI charges to complicated cases involving juvenile crimes. Unlike some of our competition, we prioritize personalized service and cutting-edge criminal defense strategies to effectively represent our clients.

Criminal Defense Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC

Clients rank Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC as the top choice for Myrtle Beach criminal defense because we provide:

  • One-on-One Counsel
  • Education on the Myrtle Beach Legal Process and Its Risks
  • Ardent, Effective Representation
  • Commitment to Our Clients and Defending Their Rights
  • Prompt Inquiry Response
  • Robust Experience with Criminal Law Cases in Myrtle Beach
  • Innovative Defense Strategies
  • Effective, Thorough Research and Investigation

Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. Our firm has represented thousands of clients in the Lowcountry, and we're ready to defend you too. Some of our specialties include:

 Law Firm Myrtle Beach, SC

DUI Cases
in Myrtle Beach, SC

DUI penalties in Myrtle Beach can be very harsh. Many first-time DUI offenders must endure a lifelong criminal record, license suspension, and the possibility of spending time in jail. Officers and judges take DUI very seriously, with 30% of traffic fatalities in South Carolina involving impaired drivers, according to NHTSA. Criminal convictions can have lasting impacts on your life, which is why CDH Law Firm works so hard to get these charges dismissed or negotiated down. In some cases, we help clients avoid jail time altogether.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer Myrtle Beach, SC
When you hire our DUI defense firm, our team will always work towards your best interests and will go above and beyond to achieve the best outcome in your case. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI charges, we will investigate whether:
  • Your DUI stop was legal
  • You were administered a field sobriety test correctly
  • The breathalyzer used was calibrated correctly and properly maintained
  • Urine and blood tests were administered and collected properly

The bottom line? Our criminal law defense attorneys will do everything possible to keep you out of jail with a clean permanent record. It all starts with a free consultation, where we will take time to explain the DUI process. We'll also discuss your defense options and speak at length about the differences between going to trial and accepting a plea bargain.

DUI Penalties in Myrtle Beach, SC

The consequences of a DUI in Myrtle Beach depend on a number of factors, including your blood alcohol level and how many DUIs you have received in the last 10 years. If you're convicted, the DUI charge will remain on your criminal history and can be seen by anyone who runs a background check on you. Sometimes, a judge will require you to enter alcohol treatment or install an interlock device on your automobile.

If you're on the fence about hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC, consider the following DUI consequences:

Criminal Defense Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC

First Offense


48 hours to 90 days

in jail

with fines ranging from

$400 to $1,000

Second Offense


Five days to three years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$2,100 to $6,500

Third Offense


60 days to five years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$3,800 to $10,000

Additional consequences can include:


Alcohol or Drug Treatment

When convicted of DUI in South Carolina, most offenders must join the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. This program mandates that offenders complete a drug and alcohol assessment and follow the recommended treatment options.

 Law Firm Myrtle Beach, SC


Community Service

Some first-time DUI offenders in Myrtle Beach may choose to complete community service in lieu of jail time. Community service hours are usually equal to the length of jail time an offender would be required to serve.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer Myrtle Beach, SC

Sanctions to Your Driver's License

Typically, when a person is convicted of driving under the influence in Myrtle Beach, their driver's license is restricted or suspended. The length of restriction or suspension depends on how many prior DUI convictions an individual has.

First DUI Offense

First-time DUI offenders must endure a six-month license suspension. Drivers convicted with a blood-alcohol level of .15% or more do not qualify for a provisional license. However, sometimes they may still drive using an ignition interlock device.

Second DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a second DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for two years.

Third DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a third DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for three years. That term increases to four years if the driver is convicted of three DUIs in five years.

Immobilized Vehicle

For offenders with two or more convictions, the judge will immobilize their vehicle if it is not equipped with an IID. When a judge immobilizes a vehicle, the owner must turn over their registration and license plate. Clearly, the consequences of receiving a DUI in Myrtle Beach can be life-changing, and not in a good way. The good news is that with CDH Law Firm, you have a real chance at beating your charges and avoiding serious fines and jail time. Every case is different, which is why it's so important that you call our office as soon as possible if you are charged with a DUI.

Traffic Violation Cases

Most drivers brush off traffic law violations as minor offenses, but the fact of the matter is they are criminal matters to be taken seriously. Despite popular opinion, Traffic Violation cases in Myrtle Beach can carry significant consequences like fines and even incarceration. If you or someone you love has been convicted of several traffic offenses, your license could be suspended, restricting your ability to work and feed your family.

Every driver should take Traffic Violations seriously. If you're charged with a traffic crime, it's time to protect yourself and your family with a trusted criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC. Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC is ready to provide the legal guidance and advice you need to beat your traffic charges. We'll research the merits of your case, explain what charges you're facing, discuss your defense options, and strategize an effective defense on your behalf.

Common Myrtle Beach
Traffic Violations That CDH Law
Firm Fights

There are dozens and dozens of traffic laws in Myrtle Beach, all of which affect drivers in some way. Our Myrtle Beach defense attorneys fight a full range of violations, including but not limited to the following:

Criminal Defense Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Driving Under Suspension: If you drive while your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, you could be looking at 30 days in jail and fines up to $300.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol is illegal and often results in jail time and fines.
  • Reckless Driving: You could be ordered to pay up to $200 in fines or jailed for up to 30 days if you drive with wanton disregard for the safety of other people.
  • Racing: You can be cited and fined if you aid or participate in street racing.
  • Hit and Run: When you leave the scene of an accident that involved injury to another party, you can be arrested. This serious charge can lead to up to one year in jail and fines of up to $5,000 for first-time offenders.
  • Disregard Traffic Signals: Drivers must obey all traffic signals and control devices, less they be ticketed and sometimes fined.

As seasoned traffic violation lawyers, we know how frustrating it can be to get charged with a Traffic Violation. While some traffic charges can be minor, others are severe and can affect your life for years to come. Don't leave your fate up to chance call CDH Law Firm today for the highest-quality Traffic Violation representation in Myrtle Beach.

Juvenile Crime Cases in
Myrtle Beach, SC

At Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC, we understand that children are still growing and learning about the world around them. As such, they may make mistakes that get them into trouble with the law. Children and teens who are arrested in Myrtle Beach can face much different futures than other children their age. Some face intensive probation, while others are made to spend time in jail.

This happens most often when a child's parents fail to retain legal counsel for their son or daughter. Cases referred to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice often move quicker than adult cases, so finding a good lawyer is of utmost importance. With that said, a compassionate criminal defense attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC, can educate you and your child about their alleged charges. To help prevent your child from going to a detention center, we will devise a strategy to achieve favorable results in their case.

 Law Firm Myrtle Beach, SC
 Criminal Defense Lawyer Myrtle Beach, SC

Juvenile Detention Hearings

Unlike adults, juveniles don't have a constitutional right to a bond hearing. Instead, once your child is taken into custody a Detention Hearing is conducted within 48 hours. This hearing is similar to a combination of a Bond Hearing and a Preliminary Hearing. Unfortunately, there is little time to prepare for these hearings, which is why you must move quickly and call CDH law firm as soon as possible.

Our team gathers police reports, petitions, interviews your child at the DJJ, speaks with you about the case and talks to the prosecutor to discover if they have plans for detention. In most cases, we strive to avoid detention and seek alternatives like divisionary programs or treatment facilities. This strategy better addresses your child's issues and keeps them out of the juvenile legal system in Myrtle Beach. If your child is charged with a crime, and South Carolina decides to prosecute, your child will appear before a family court judge, who will find them delinquent or not delinquent. There are no juries in juvenile cases in South Carolina, which is why it's crucial to have a lawyer present to defend your child if they go in front of a judge.

Common penalties for juveniles charged with crimes in Myrtle Beach include:

Criminal Defense Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Probation: Children charged with probation are released to their parents or guardians. Depending on their charges, they must abide by certain stipulations while at home and may be subject to random drug screenings. Violation of probation often results in jail time.
  • 90 Days in Juvenile Detention Center: When probation is not a viable option, prosecutors may push for 90 days of jail time in a juvenile detention facility.
  • Juvenile Detention: Children who commit very serious crimes can be sent to a juvenile detention center for a long time. These sentences can last up to the child's 21st birthday.
  • School Expulsion: When a child is convicted of a crime, their school is notified of the offense. Sometimes, the administration may decide to expel the child from school for the misdemeanors or felonies they commit.

We Fight to Protect
Your Rights So You Can
Provide for Your Family

Whether you are facing a DUI charge or a serious traffic violation, CDH Law Firm is here to fight for your rights so you can continue living life. The future might seem bleak, but our criminal defense lawyers in Myrtle Beach, SC, have the tools, experience, and strategy to win your case, as we have with so many others. Don't lose hope call our office today and maintain your freedom tomorrow.

Ask us anything

Call Now 843-936-6680 PH

Latest News in Myrtle Beach, SC

Fall Bike Week is revving into Myrtle Beach. A visitor’s guide to its sights and sounds.

Myrtle Beach’s fall bike week is rolling into town later this month for a 10-day run t...

Myrtle Beach’s fall bike week is rolling into town later this month for a 10-day run that is expected to pull in crowds of up to 30,000 people.

It can be an overwhelming experience for first-timers or newcomers to the area as all those bikes start revving into the region on Sept. 29, but organizers have created several resources to help keep the event user-friendly and safe.

Here’s a guide to what you should know as the popular tradition launches for another year.

Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Rentals started in 2020, and offers rides by the day, starting at $175, according to its website. Its inventory includes Harley Davidsons, Kawasaki and Suzukis. Reservations can be made online. All riders must be at least 21 years old and have a valid motorcycle endorsed driver’s license.

Rollin’ Rentals, based in Murrells Inlet, also offers by-the-day bikes for between $125 and $250, according to its website. Its requirements are the same as Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Rentals, though customers must use state-mandated helmets, which are also available to rent.

Fall Bike Week organizers have gathered a list of 20 hot spots across the Grand Strand, using GPS-linked data through Google Earth to create a virtual guide for must-see locations.

The map hits locations from Murrells Inlet to Little River and includes iconic watering holes like The Bowery, Suck, Bang, Blow, the Rat Hole and of course Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard.

The guide includes links to each establishment’s website along with hours of operation, addresses and phone numbers.

If you attended bike week and didn’t buy a T-shirt, did you even attend bike week? You can grab customized clothing, tote bags and even home decor branded with Myrtle Beach Bike Week through an Amazon portal linked to the event’s official Facebook page.

Most purchases will set you back between $25 and $40.

The Grand Strand’s music scene, which draws homegrown talent alongside nationally-known acts, always has something to offer. is a clearinghouse for those looking to attend a show. It’s calendar updates daily and covers venues from Pawleys Island to Little River, including communities such as Carolina Forest, Cherry Grove, Market Common and Socastee.

This story was originally published September 6, 2023, 5:00 AM.

Sapakoff: Which loss was worse? A Gamecocks-Tigers Myrtle Beach Bowl?

COLUMBIA — It wasn’t a total loss for Palmetto State college football fans visiting North Carolina over the sunny Labor Day weekend.Gamecock fans roaming Rock Hill’s largest suburb learned Charlotte still has an NFL team, and Tiger fans on the way to and from Durham had a chance to sample the new watermelon soda at Biscuitville.Otherwise, it wasn’t good when North Carolina out-sacked South Carolina 9-zero in a ...

COLUMBIA — It wasn’t a total loss for Palmetto State college football fans visiting North Carolina over the sunny Labor Day weekend.

Gamecock fans roaming Rock Hill’s largest suburb learned Charlotte still has an NFL team, and Tiger fans on the way to and from Durham had a chance to sample the new watermelon soda at Biscuitville.

Otherwise, it wasn’t good when North Carolina out-sacked South Carolina 9-zero in a 31-17 victory Saturday night. Or when Mike Greenberg opened ESPN’s “Get Up” morning show Tuesday by shouting, “Is Clemson’s era of being a dominant program officially over?”

That was after the Tigers’ 28-7 loss Monday night at Duke.

But life goes on, you can still ponder perpetual motion and there’s a bright side to 0-1 starts.

“I love this team,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said late Monday night. “I love this staff. I know a lot of people are probably going to quit on us, give up on us and throw us away. But, man, I ain’t quitting.”

Dabo gives congrats to Duke and … “incredibly disappointing ... In all my years of football I’ve never been part of a game like that.”

— @sapakoff (@Sapakoff) September 5, 2023

South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer was looking ahead on Tuesday as he looked back.

“I’m excited about this team,” he said. “We have to get better. And we will.”

Indeed, it’s not time to panic, yet. But a long, hard, collective 0-2 weekend in North Carolina begs for comparisons:

Biggest problems

South Carolina won’t beat Southern Conference favorite Furman this week, or any other team this season, with a team rushing total in the red (–2 vs. North Carolina). Beamer doubled-down on bullishness on a rebuilt, banged up offensive line, telling reporters to “get your shots in now” because the blocking unit will come together.


Beamer stressed the need for urgency while noting the Gamecocks have three true freshmen in the two-deep list up front.

You can watch Hurricane Idalia in the Myrtle Beach area with these cameras. Here’s how

During a hurricane, live beach cams let you safely see the winds and waves.Many Myrtle Beach area resorts and restaurants live stream their views. For most of the year, these web cams show tranquil ...

During a hurricane, live beach cams let you safely see the winds and waves.

Many Myrtle Beach area resorts and restaurants live stream their views. For most of the year, these web cams show tranquil beach scenes for visitors longing for the ocean.

Idalia strengthened to a hurricane early Tuesday morning as it heads to the Florida coast, according to the National Weather Service Hurricane Center. Current models has the storm reaching South Carolina around early Thursday.

When a storm like Idalia hits, the cameras turn into valuable tools for locals and tourists alike to witness the effects of the hurricane in real time.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has live traffic cameras throughout the area to help track road conditions.

After you identify local emergency contacts and see if your area is likely to flood, check out these 23 beach cams to watch a hurricane.

Ripley’s Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach

Ocean Lakes Family Campground

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk - facing north

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk - facing south

Springmaid Pier

18th Ave. South

Breakers Resort

Grande Shores Resort

Sea Watch Resort

Captain’s Quarters Resort

Crown Reef Beach Resort

Sea Captain’s House Restaurant

Prince Resort Cherry Grove Pier

Avista Resort North Myrtle Beach

Elliot Realty North Myrtle Beach

North Beach Resort & Villas

Coquina Harbor in Little River

Little River Swing Bridge and Harbourgate Marina

Murrells Inlet Marshwalk from Dead Dog Saloon

Surfside Beach Surfcam

Pawleys Pier Village

Blackmoor Golf Club

Gulfstream Cafe

This story was originally published August 28, 2023, 9:26 AM.

Pelicans Announce 2024 Schedule

September 6, 2023 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans News ReleaseMYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are pleased to announce their 2024 schedule. The 132-game schedule, developed by Major League Baseball, will run from April 5 to September 8. The Pelic...

September 6, 2023 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans News Release

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are pleased to announce their 2024 schedule. The 132-game schedule, developed by Major League Baseball, will run from April 5 to September 8. The Pelicans' home opener is scheduled for Friday, April 5 against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The team will host the Down East Wood Ducks, Single-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, beginning August 27 in the final home series of 2024. The club will close out the season on the road against the Woodpeckers.

2024 will mark the 25th season for the Pelicans franchise and tenth as an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

To view, save, or print the 2024 schedule visit

The season features 23 series with 12 at home and 11 on the road. Most series are comprised of six games, with four three- game sets against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, the Charleston RiverDogs, and the Columbia Fireflies for a total of 66 contests at Pelicans Ballpark and 66 on the road. Additionally, the six-game series format with games beginning on Tuesday and ending on Sunday will return with each Monday serving as a league-wide off-day. Three series will differ from this format: the season- opening series against Fayetteville starting on Friday, April 5, the three-game series against Charleston beginning Monday, July 1, and the three-game set against Columbia beginning Friday, July 19. The All Star Break, which coincides with the MLB All Star Break, will happen July 15-18.

The summer months continue to encompass the bulk of the Pelicans home schedule with 40 of the 66 contests played in June (14), July (15), and August (11). With two exceptions, the Pelicans will play at least one game per calendar week on the Grand Strand throughout the course of the 2024 regular season. Additionally, the Birds will play Charleston at home for their Red, White and Blue series which runs July 1-3.

The Pelicans will continue their in-state rivalries within the South Division with the Charleston RiverDogs (Tampa Bay Rays), Columbia Fireflies (Kansas City Royals), and Augusta GreenJackets (Atlanta Braves). The Pelicans will also welcome back the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (Chicago White Sox) April 16-21 and July 9-14, the Fredericksburg Nationals (Washington Nationals) May 14-19, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Houston Astros) April 5-7 and June 25-30, and the Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers) August 27-September 1.

Fireworks will continue to be a staple within the Pelicans schedule. A total of 22 firework shows will take place throughout 2024.

A post-game Fireworks Extravaganza will take place every Friday, July 3, Thursdays and Sundays during the summer (June 13 - August 15), and on the final home game on Sunday, September 1.

Season memberships for the 2024 season are available now. For more information visit; to purchase a Pelicans membership call 843-618-6000 or stop by the Front Office. Additionally, hospitality spaces for the 2024 season are also on sale now. These spaces include nightly suite rentals, beach party rentals, pre-game picnics, team parties, and birthday parties. Many of these options sell out quickly for key dates. To book your outing at Pelicans Ballpark call 843-918-6000 or stop by the Front Office.

Check out the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Statistics

• Discuss this story on the Carolina League message board...

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

How safe is it to swim at Myrtle Beach? Nonprofit, local officials’ opinions vastly differ

Ocean swimmers at Myrtle Beach were exposed on more than 60 days last year to water pollution levels high enough to potentially cause health issues ranging from rashes and infections to gastrointestinal an...

Ocean swimmers at Myrtle Beach were exposed on more than 60 days last year to water pollution levels high enough to potentially cause health issues ranging from rashes and infections to gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, a new report from a national nonprofit says.

The Environment America Research & Policy Center indicated that on the 74 days Myrtle Beach ocean water was tested last year, 61 days had pollution levels that posed potential health hazards to swimmers. Compared to the rest of the state’s ocean waters, Myrtle Beach ranked highest in the number of unsafe days, according to the study.

But local and state officials contend that the study’s chosen standard is too stringent. When the appropriate standard is applied, they said, the number of unsafe swimming days at Myrtle Beach drops significantly.

Under the guidelines used by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, 26 of the 74 days examined had pollution levels high enough to cause illness, according to an analysis of department data by The State Media Co.

But the research group said even that many days is “unacceptably high… in anyone’s book.”

The dispute isn’t over the amount of pollution found in the surf: both groups are analyzing the same numbers. Rather, the disagreement is over what level of pollution threatens swimmers’ health.

The research center uses a tool from the federal Environmental Protection Agency called “Beach Action Value,” defined as the most aggressive approach for protecting a person’s health. That standard is 60 “colony-forming units,” or cfu, per 100 milliliters. But the EPA says advisories aren’t required until the water tests for 110 cfu. DHEC issues warnings at 104 cfu.

DHEC and Coastal Carolina University combined to test the ocean water at Myrtle Beach on those 74 days last year. They gathered data from up to 13 sites on each of those days for a total of over 900 samples, according to DHEC data.

The Environment America Research & Policy Center looked at the level of fecal indicator bacteria levels — human and animal waste that can sicken people who come in contact with it in high concentrations. The bacteria, enterococcus, is the only bacteria that can cause beach advisories. In excess, fecal material in the water is associated with higher rates of illness in people, said DHEC spokeswoman Laura Renwick.

The ocean water at Myrtle Beach gets polluted after heavy rains hit highly developed areas. Instead of being absorbed by nature, the water runs off roadways, pavement and parking lots, picking up pollutants along the way. In some spots, large drain pipes dump stormwater runoff onto the beach and into the ocean.

Runoff that seeps into the surf can contain pathogens that threaten swimmers’ health, including skin rashes, gastrointestinal and respiratory disease, and ear and eye infections. Ingesting the specific bacteria, enterococcus, doesn’t mean a swimmer will get sick, but exposure increases the chances of becoming ill.

Under the Beach Action Value, the research and policy center found Myrtle Beach surpassed the threshold for potentially unsafe bacteria counts 82% of the time, according to John Rumpler, the nonprofit’s clean water director and senior attorney.

“We think that’s a reasonable threshold,” Rumpler said. “The public deserves to know if there’s a threat to their health.”

DHEC said the EPA’s threshold for enterococcus bacteria of 110cfu per 100 milliliter has been in place since 2012, and the Beach Action Value “is not a recommended standard for the protection of human health in recreational saltwater bodies.”

Other beaches had far lower potentially unsafe swimming days according to the study’s standard. Out of 78 days tested at North Myrtle Beach, 23 of the days had too-high pollution levels. Thirty-one of 73 test days were deemed potentially unsafe at the Town of Briarcliffe Acres. While tested on only 10 days, two of those days on Harbor and Hunting islands in Beaufort County had unacceptable pollution levels. Seabrook Island in Charleston County also had two potentially unsafe days out of 10 test days.

Local officials also say the water quality at Myrtle Beach gets a bad rap because of the number of sites that are tested.

Typically, water quality testing is done on what Rumpler called a “distinct” beach. On test days, a sample is taken from just one site on those beaches, and the test results are sent to the EPA. If the beach is tested 30 days out of the year, it would have 30 samples. And that beach could be as small as a half-mile.

At Myrtle Beach, the state checks 13 test sites along the city’s 10 miles of beaches.

“A single location could be sampled for each beach; However, DHEC wants to provide the best data possible for residents and tourists as part of our mission to protect public health,” Renwick said.

However, the number of samples make the data hard to untangle, Rumpler said. If a single test site sample has fecal indicator bacteria levels above the threshold Rumpler uses, the nonprofit declares the entire 10-mile beach as having a “potentially unsafe day.”

Mark Kruea, the city spokesperson, argued that if a high sample is taken from a 200-foot section of beach, that accounts for a tiny portion of Myrtle Beach’s shoreline while the rest of the beach could be within safe levels.

“Yet the whole beach is credited with a ‘bad day’?” Kruea said. “Such assumptions leave a lot to be desired.”

Since the 1990s, DHEC has tested Myrtle Beach’s water quality out of “an abundance of caution,” the city says, because of the millions of swimmers and visitors who use it.

The department has closely followed the EPA’s method for measuring fecal indicator bacteria levels that could cause illness in swimmers. The EPA’s threshold is recognized as the recommended standard for putting out swimming advisories.

But even when applying the lower threshold, Myrtle Beach’s ocean waters can be a concern.

Each year from May 1 to Oct. 1, DHEC sends out short- or long-term advisories when there’s an increased possibility of high bacteria levels, typically where stormwater from pipes or small creeks flow across the beach and into the ocean, Renwick said.

Short-term advisories last a day or two and are triggered when sample tests are above threshold levels on two consecutive days. The advisories can also be issued when the first sample exceeds the appropriate level and the test site is near a potential source of bacteria, such as a stormwater drain, according to DHEC.

Between May 1 to Oct. 1 last year, five short-term station advisories were issued at Myrtle Beach, according to DHEC.

Long-term advisories are issued for monitoring locations where more than 10% of the enterococcus data collected over the past five years exceeds the EPA’s standard for the bacteria, according to DHEC. The need for a long-term advisories are reassessed each year. Those advisories are often located where stormwater from pipes or small creeks flows across the beach and into the ocean, Renwick said.

Long-term advisories are removed when fecal indicator bacteria levels show improvement and less than 10% of the samples exceed the standard.

In 2022, over a quarter of the state’s short-term advisories were issued for Myrtle Beach locations, according to Renwick. Myrtle Beach also made up 53% of South Carolina’s 17 long-term alerts. This year, 11 test sites along Myrtle Beach are under long-term advisories.

That doesn’t mean the beach is closing or the warning bars swimming, Kruea said, adding that it means a swim advisory is triggered.

“When we do have a (short-term) swimming advisory, it typically is for a day ... and for an area of a few hundred feet,” he said.

Myrtle Beach does not have ports, factory farming, or heavy industry, and its sanitary sewer system and stormwater are separate, all of which can impact water quality. Renwick said most of the time, the fecal matter comes from pet and bird waste in the stormwater system. There is the potential that the city’s aging sewer system could leak into stormwater systems, but they are closely monitored, she added.

However, Myrtle Beach’s shoreline is heavily developed.

For decades city officials have been working to shore up Myrtle Beach’s water quality.

More recently, that has included installing deep-water outfalls to help move stormwater around and prevent it from affecting ocean water quality in swimming areas. Different from the beach’s drainage pipes and swashes, deep-water outfalls work to transport rainwater beneath the ocean, over 1,000 feet and past the surf zone.

Some drainage pipes remain on the beach. In the fall, construction will begin on the fifth deep-water outfall, at 24th Avenue North, Kruea said. When that’s complete, 11 of the on-beach pipes will be removed. Currently the beach has between two and three dozen on-beach pipes, with some being as small as 8 inches in diameter while others are up to 36 inches, Kruea said.

The city received a $30 million state grant and $15 million in federal dollars is pending for the newest outfall project.

In the past 25 years, Myrtle Beach has spent about $80 million to improve and manage its stormwater. Kruea said the money spent doesn’t indicate significant problems on a routine basis. Rather the city’s investments and efforts have produced “very good ocean water quality.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article showed a photo of North Myrtle Beach, not Myrtle Beach. It has since been corrected.

This story was originally published August 20, 2023, 5:00 AM.


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