South Carolina health experts are advising people Thursday to stay out of streams, rivers or the ocean in the next few days because dangerous bacteria and other contaminants could have entered those waters following Tropical Storm Irma.
Tim Kelly, S.C. DHEC’s director of media relations, said the safety of ocean water is unknown. The next scheduled sampling of Hilton Head Island is Sept. 18, he said.
“After the sampling is performed it normally takes 48 hours to get the results,” Kelly said via email.
Beachgoers also are advised to stay out of surf because of possible debris, said Mike Wagner, Hilton Head Island Beach Shore Services operational manager.
Once swimmers do venture into the water, they should be cautious of areas on the beach washed out by the storm, Wagner said. Drainage can create channels that produce rip tides, he said.
Guard stands at the beach also are currently unmanned, Wagner said. He said his staff should be back on duty by the weekend.