South Carolina environmental officials are now relying on permanent signs to warn swimmers of possible unsafe bacteria levels along the Grand Strand.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control used to send notifications to newspapers and television when bacteria levels in the ocean reached unsafe levels.
But DHEC spokesman Mark Plowden (http://bit.ly/1t9KbYI ) told The State newspaper in Columbia that it was better to put signs near areas that regularly test high for bacteria levels after heavy rains instead of hoping swimmers checked the paper or TV.
Some residents say DHEC should do both.
The signs tell people not to swim within 200 feet of a drainage pipe or tidal inlet after heavy rains. The bacteria reached unsafe levels on the Grand Strand during 45 days in 2013.