MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The city has a plan to address flooding and ocean water quality in a large portion of downtown.
For the past year, consulting firm WK Dickson has been trying to solve two problems: how much water from rain floods on road and how clean that stormwater is when it reaches the ocean.
“As water runs off of the roads, houses and lawns, it can end up carrying pollutants into the stream, so we want to look at solutions for how to address that,” said Tom Murray, the project manager from WK Dickson.
WK Dickson shared its year-long study of the Withers Basin at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot on Tuesday night. The basin is about three square miles and goes from the ocean to Seaboard Street, between 19th Avenue North and 17th Avenue South.
The study identified 18 needed projects to increase the amount of stormwater that can be handled and 16 projects to improve the quality of water running into the ocean. Those projects include constructed wetlands, expanding existing ponds, replacing pipes and dredging streams.
The goal is to reduce neighborhood flooding and the number of swim advisories issued during tourist season.
“I know the city has done a lot of work upgrading infrastructure over the last 20-30 years, but there still are some areas with some aging infrastructure that are flood-prone, so we’ve identified solutions there,” Murray said.
Murray says upgrades are needed in more than one spot to ensure less flooding and cleaner water runoff.
“The more that we can distribute projects throughout the watershed, we’re then able to treat stormwater before it becomes a problem further downstream,” he said.
WK Dickson says those 34 projects would cost an estimated $33 million. The city now has to create a list and prioritize which projects it wants to do and when to start them.
The consultants also plan to study other watersheds in the city.