Flickr user Tim Brown Architects
Oyster beds near Penn Center.
(Updates at the bottom.)
All clam and oyster harvesting beds on Battery Creek and its tributaries have been closed to harvest due to a sewage spill.
"This closure is temporary and is the result of potentially elevated bacteria levels due to a sewer overflow," said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC's Shellfish Sanitation Section. "The affected areas will reopen once water quality data indicates the bacteria levels are acceptable for shellfish harvesting."
For more information on clam and oyster harvesting areas in Beaufort County, call DHEC's Region 8 Environmental Quality Control office at (843) 846-1030. For information on Georgetown and Horry counties' clam and oyster harvesting areas, call DHEC's Region 6 EQC office at (843) 238-4378. For more information on Charleston County clam and oyster harvesting areas, call DHEC's Region 7 EQC office at (843) 953-0160.
Update November 10: A few more details about this incident.
The sewage spill triggering the closure was estimated at 500 gallons, and was spilled at a tributary to Battery Creek in Beaufort on around 4:00 p.m. on December 8. The overflow was caused by a break in a sewer pipe near the intersection of Battery Creek Rd and 1st Blvd.
BJWSA crews were in the area at a nearby pumpstation as part of pump replacement already scheduled as a result of its ongoing inspecting program. The leak occurred while the pump station work was in progress, and crews noticed it and started work to repair it immediately.
At this point, it is unclear how much of the 500 gallons of sewage overflowed into the tributary.
BJWSA continues to work with SCDHEC by jointly sampling the affected area's water to test for the presence of harmful bacteria. Signs notifying the public of the Sewer Spill Overflow have been posted in the Battery Creek and surrounding areas until the SCDHEC determines that the shellfish beds are safe for harvesting.