Water samples were collected in 1991-93 from Withers Swash and its two tributaries (the Mainstem and KOA Branches) in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and analyzed for physical properties, organic and inorganic constituents, and fecal coliform and streptococcus bacteria. Samples were collected during wet- and dry-weather conditions to assess the water quality of the streams before and after storm runoff. Water samples were analyzed for over 200 separate physical, chemical, and biological constituents. Concentrations of 11 constituents violated State criteria for shellfish harvesting waters, and State Human Health Criteria. The 11 constituents included concentrations of dissolved oxygen, arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, chlordane, dieldrin, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and fecal coliform bacteria. Water samples were examined for the presence of enteric bacteria (fecal coliform and fecal streptococcus) at 46 sites throughout the Withers Swash Basin and 5 sites on the beach and in the Atlantic Ocean. Water samples were collected just upstream from all confluences in order to determine sources of bacterial contamination. Temporally and spatially high concentrations of enteric bacteria were detected throughout the Withers Swash Basin; however, these sporadic bacteria concentrations made it difficult to determine a single source of the contamination. These enteric bacteria concentrations are probably derived from a number of sources in the basin including septic tanks, garbage containers, and the feces of waterfowl and domestic animals.
Water quality in the Withers Swash Basin, with emphasis on enteric bacteria, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 1991-93