Car Accident Attorney inMyrtle Beach, SC

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Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC Fighting
for Your Rights in Myrtle Beach, SC

When an accident comes without warning, even the most prepared person can fall victim. One moment, you're walking to a restaurant after a long day of work. The next moment, someone else's negligence and carelessness change your life forever. Personal injury victims aren't just the victims of negligence they suffer from pain, concern over family and ability to work. Often, these victims do not have the luxury of worrying about work and family, because they're clinging to life in an ER. Without a personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC, by their side, they mistakenly provide official statements to insurance agencies and accept settlement offers that only account for a fraction of what they have lost.

If you have recently been hurt in an accident, you may be asking questions like:

  • "What happens now?"
  • "How will I pay for my hospital bills?"
  • "Will I get fired from my job?"
  • "Will I be able to function independently ever again?"

With more than 100,000 car accidents in South Carolina every year, we hear these questions every day. Our hearts hurt for those who are suffering due to no fault of their own. Accident victims are not only left with questions like those above; they're also forced to deal with costs associated with medical bills, car repair, follow-up appointments, and loss of income.

While reading these facts can be bleak, there is a silver lining. South Carolina law dictates that those who are found responsible for your pain and suffering may be obligated to pay for your expenses. Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC exists for that exact reason to make sure that negligent parties are held accountable. We fight on your behalf to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We aren't afraid to go toe-to-toe with greedy insurance agencies who do not have your best interests at heart.

Our overarching goal is to protect your rights, and our law firm is uniquely positioned to do so, with attorney Michael Dill‘s vast experience in the auto insurance industry.

Personal Injury Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC
Service Areas

We offer comprehensive vehicle representation for a number of different automobile accidents, including:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Drunk Driving
  • Rollovers
  • Multi-Vehicle Accidents
  • Automobile Defects
  • Roadway Defects
  • Speeding
  • Reckless Driving
  • Uninsured Motorists or
    Underinsured Drivers
  • Rear-End Collisions
  • Car Rental Accidents
  • RV Accidents

If you know you have been involved in one of the car accidents above, the time to seek experienced representation is now. Generally, car accident victims have three years from the date of their injuries to file a personal injury claim in Myrtle Beach. That time frame can be reduced in certain circumstances. When a wrongful death is involved, surviving family members must take action in a similar time frame.

The bottom line is that speed is of the essence in these cases. When we sit down with you to learn more about your accident, we will help you understand South Carolina law so that you are fully informed before taking legal action. The sooner we can dig into the details of your case, the sooner we can fight for your rights.

We Recover Compensation
When You Need It Most

The law states that personal injury victims are entitled to compensation for the full extent of their injuries. Why? Because the primary goal of injury compensation in Myrtle Beach, SC, is to help the victim return to the state they would have been in, if the accident never occurred. In the literal sense, doing so isn't possible. The law cannot reverse the incredible suffering and pain that accompanies a severe injury. As such, personal injury victims are entitled to receive a financial reward that equals those damages.

How much compensation you get depends on the facts and nuances of your case. With that said, you may be able to recover compensation for the following needs:

  • Rehab-Related Expenses like
    Physical Therapy
  • All Medical Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Lost Wages and Loss of
    Future Income Earning Ability
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional Distress
  • Mental Anguish

If you or someone you love was recently injured in a car wreck, contact our office today to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin fighting for your rights and the compensation you need.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Myrtle Beach, SC The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference

What Our Clients Say

The Role of Negligence in Your
Myrtle Beach Personal Injury Case

If there were one common truth that we can count on, it's that life is unpredictable. Sometimes, accidents just happen. However, when recklessness and negligence come into play in situations where accidents cause personal injuries, the negligent party can be held responsible under South Carolina law. For victims to have a chance at compensation, the party responsible for the accident must be proven to be negligent. When a party or parties are negligent, they fail to take appropriate care when performing an action, like driving an automobile.

 Car Accident Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC
At Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC, our team works to prove negligence
for our clients by proving:
  • The defendant had an obligation to look out for your safety.
  • The defendant did not uphold that duty.
  • There was causation between the defendant's breach of duty and the injuries you sustained.
  • You suffered real damages.

After an accident occurs, it is critical to take certain steps to help prove the responsible party's negligence and maximize the compensation you rightly deserve.

Steps to Maximize Compensation
After an Accident in Myrtle Beach, SC

All too often, car wreck victims don't get the compensation they need because they failed to take the proper steps after their accident. Don't let this be you. By having comprehensive records of your car accident and its aftermath, you have a much better chance of protecting your rights and maximizing compensation for your bills and injuries. If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Myrtle Beach, follow these steps before doing anything else:


Go to a Doctor

First and foremost, seek medical attention for any injuries that you have sustained. You might not realize it now, but your injuries may be more complex and serious than you think. Damage like head trauma and back injuries are not easy to diagnose on your own and sometimes take time to surface. A full medical examination will help reveal the extent of your injuries, lead to a quicker recovery, and help document the injuries you sustained. This last part is essential to prove the significance of your injuries.

 Law Firm Myrtle Beach, SC

File an
Accident Report

The second step you should take is to report your injuries to the correct authorities. The authorities change depending on the circumstances of your accident. If you were involved in a car wreck in Myrtle Beach, you should file your report with the highway authorities and any associated insurance agencies. Regardless of where you were injured and how the wreck occurred, the biggest takeaway here is to file a report. That way, you have an established, official record of the incident that can be referred to down the line.

Personal Injury Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC

Preserve Evidence
if Possible

Personal injury cases in Myrtle Beach are won with evidence. It might sound like the job of the police, but it's important that you try to secure any evidence that you can collect relating to your accident, especially if you are injured. Evidence in auto accident cases tends to disappear quickly. By preserving evidence soon after the accident, it can be used in court. For example, if you cannot get a witness statement immediately after your wreck, their testimony may come across as less reliable. Completing this task on your own can be quite difficult, especially after a serious accident. That's why it's so crucial to complete the last step below.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Myrtle Beach, SC

Contact a Lawyer

One of the most intelligent, important steps you can take after a car accident is calling a personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC. At Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC, we will assist you with every step of your personal injury case to ensure that your rights are protected. That includes gathering all types of evidence relevant to your case. When we investigate your accident, we will determine the person who is liable for your losses. If there are multiple liable parties, we will hold each one accountable for their negligence.

Every personal injury case is different, which is why experience counts when it comes to car accident compensation. Our track record speaks for itself, but no number of past results will guarantee a perfect outcome. What we can guarantee, however, is our undivided attention and fierce dedication to your case, no matter the circumstances. Unlike other personal injury law firms in Myrtle Beach, you can have peace of mind knowing your best interests always come first at Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC.

 Car Accident Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC

Common Car Accidents in
Myrtle Beach, SC

At Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC, we have years of experience handling some of Myrtle Beach's most complicated car accident cases. Some of the most common cases that come across our desks include:

Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving is a major problem in the Lowcountry. Drunk drivers are incredibly irresponsible and regularly cause fatal accidents because they drive physically and mentally impaired by alcohol. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times, delayed reflexes, and impaired vision, making them unfit to operate a motor vehicle. In auto wrecks, drunk drivers often come away with minor injuries compared to their victims, which is a bitter pill to swallow

Individuals who make a choice to drive drunk cause accidents by weaving in and out of traffic, going over the speed limit, failing to see pedestrians, and ignoring traffic laws. They may run cars off the road, rear-end vehicles, hit them head-on, or even cause a vehicle to roll over.

Drunk driving accidents in Myrtle Beach care result in horrible injuries, such as:

  • Burns
  • Broken Bones
  • Head Injuries
  • Brain Trauma
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Mental Anguish

If you are injured or have lost a family member due to an impaired or drunk driver, our team of personal injury lawyers in Myrtle Beach can help. We have extensive experience with car accident cases and can explain your rights in simple, plain terms. It is important to know that you can file a personal injury suit regardless of the criminal case outcome against the drunk driver.

 Law Firm Myrtle Beach, SC

Rental and RV Accidents

When accidents happen in RVs or rental cars, people are often unsure of their rights. This confusion is understandable since there are additional insurance and legal issues that must be accounted for in these cases.

Fortunately, the lawyers at Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC, have the experience to help you with complex car accident and RV cases. Attorney Michael Dill worked in the auto insurance industry before becoming an attorney. He also has an undergraduate degree that includes a focus on risk management and insurance. When it comes to rental and RV accidents, we review each client's case with a fine-tooth comb. Once we understand your accident, our team will explain your rights and options in easy-to-understand terms.

If you were involved in an accident while driving an RV or a rental vehicle, you may find that your auto insurance company, the rental car's insurance company, and the other party's insurance carrier will try to deny your claim. Situations like these call for a bold, experienced personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC, who isn't afraid of large corporations and insurance groups. We have extensive experience with insurance companies and know how to interpret policies. As your advocate, we will ensure that you receive the coverage and compensation you are entitled to, even if an insurance company says you aren't.

We can help you seek compensation in cases that involve:

  • Injuries from Boating Ac
  • Rental Cars Injuries
  • RV Accidents
  • Jet Ski Injuries
  • Golf Cart Injuries
  • Rental cars
  • Boat accidents
  • ATV Accidents

Victims of RV and rental car accidents (as well as their families) may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income or benefits. Our personal injury lawyers work with life-care planners, medical experts, and economists to determine the amount of compensation you will need.

Personal Injury Attorney Myrtle Beach, SC

Texting While Driving and
Distracted Driving Accidents

We live in a time where just about everyone has their eyes glued to their phones. Often, this happens in situations where the person needs to be paying attention, like when they're driving an automobile. Taking a few moments to glance down at your phone can cause irreparable damage to other drivers. That is why texting while driving is illegal in Myrtle Beach. Typically, this crime is met with a minor traffic violation. However, when a distracted driver injures another motorist, you can seek compensation through a legal suit. If you have been injured in such a situation, our team can help you hold the negligent driver accountable for your losses and damages.

Texting takes drivers' minds and eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel. Because they are not paying attention to their driving,

They miss crucial road signs and information such as:

  • Changes in the Flow
    of Traffic
  • Traffic Lights
  • Traffic Signs
  • Work Zones
  • Bicyclists
  • Lane Changes
  • Incapacitate Cars and

At Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC, we represent injury victims in Myrtle Beach who are involved in all types of car accidents, including distracted driving. We work with vigor to recover the full amount of compensation you and your family will need to recover. You can rely on our attorneys for dedicated, representation throughout your case. Unlike some distracted driving lawyers in Myrtle Beach, we will assist you with all aspects of your accident, including access to good medical care if needed.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Myrtle Beach, SC

Unflinching Legal Advocacy. Compassionate Care

At Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC, we are proud of our commitment to our clients. We pledge to provide them with the highest quality legal representation in Myrtle Beach and treat them with respect, empathy, and compassion. If you are suffering from the results of a dangerous car accident, know we are here to assist.

We will help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and additional losses. Surviving family members may also recover funeral expenses and compensation for the personal loss of a loved one, including the deceased's future income and benefits. When you or your family's health and financial security are on the line, trust the best choose Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC.


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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