CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental control says an estimated 2.4 million gallons of sewage discharged into the headwaters of the Stono River over the course of 8 days.

According to DHEC, the Town of Hollywood noticed disruption of flow in a wastewater line on February 19, 2018. The disruption indicated a problem with the collection system.

The Town of Hollywood notified the Department of the issue on February 22,2018, around 2:30 p.m.

Upon extensive investigation, the utility located a breach in the sewer line near Highway 17 and Old Charleston Highway around 8:00 a.m. on February 26, 2018. It was determined that wastewater was discharging from a submerged pipe for 8 days prior to discovery.

An estimated 2.4 million gallons of wastewater was released into the marsh adjacent to the Stono River from February 19th – February 26th.

The utility repaired the submerged pipe on February 26, 2018.

The wastewater may contain viruses that can be transferred to people if they consume contaminated oysters. Shellfish (oyster) harvesting closure and recall are necessary to protect public health.

DHEC, in partnership with the Federal Food and Drug Administration, determined through modeling and evaluation that the area of concern for public health impact stretches from Charleston Harbor to the North Edisto River.

On Tuesday, DHEC closed some beds affected between the Charleston Harbor and the North Edisto River.

This closure affects shellfish harvesting from Charleston Harbor south to the North Edisto River. This includes all rivers and tributaries associated with them,” said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC’s Shellfish Sanitation Section. “The affected area will be closed for a minimum of 21 days and will reopen after that, once water quality data indicate that bacteria levels are again suitable for shellfish harvesting.” 

On Wednesday, DHEC issues a recall for all oysters harvested from the impacted area between February 19 and February 28.

They have notified vendors and harvesters to ensure they are individually aware of the recall.