Frequently Asked Questions

What is stormwater?
During a rainstorm, rain falls on the land and moves across it into streams, rivers and the ocean. In a natural setting, some rain is intercepted by trees and vegetation and soaks into the soil before it can run across the land. As we develop and change the landscape, hard surfaces intercept the rain and prevent it from soaking into the soil. More rains moves across the land. This is stormwater. With this increase in the amount and timing of stormwater runoff comes a need to manage this runoff so that it does not negatively affect others around us.
What is polluted stormwater?
Polluted stormwater occurs as storm runoff picks up debris, dirt, oils, pesticides, fertilizers, paint, solvents, pet waste, and other pollutants. This runoff travels through storm drains, pipes, ditches, and canals to our waterways. It is not treated at a wastewater treatment plant before it is discharged to our waterways.
What is a storm drain and what does it do?
A storm drain is an opening at the curb, in the street, or in a yard that collects storm runoff and carries it through underground pipes to a stormwater pond, ditch, or stream. 

What is the difference between a storm drain and a sanitary sewer drain?

A storm drain discharges untreated stormwater into the environment and our waterways. A sanitary sewer drain carries household and commercial wastewater to a treatment plant so that it is cleaned before it is discharged into the environment.
What is a stormwater pond?
Stormwater ponds are common features in neighborhoods and commercial developments. They are often viewed as neighborhood amenities, but are in fact engineered structures designed to capture stormwater as it runs across the land so that it does not cause flooding. Stormwater ponds retain water during a storm and release it slowly so that it reduces impacts on downstream waters and properties.   
What are impaired waters?
Under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, states, territories, and authorized tribes are required to develop lists of impaired waters. These are waters that are too polluted or otherwise degraded to meet the water quality standards set by states, territories, or authorized tribes. The law requires that these jurisdictions establish priority rankings for waters on the lists and develop TMDLs for these waters. A Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards. For information about water quality in South Carolina watersheds, visit SC DHEC's watershed atlas interactive mapping tool.
Why are swimming advisories or fish consumption advisories issued?
SC Dept. of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) issues fish consumption advisoriesswimming advisories, and beach advisories. SC DHEC determines fish consumption advisories based on testing fish for toxic chemicals and substances that have the potential to harm people if consumed. SC DHEC determines swimming advisories based on water testing for bacteria that indicate the presence of disease-causing germs. 

How do I report a drainage problem?
Call the Horry County Road and Drainage Hotline at 843-381-8000. You may also submit a service request online by clicking here.
How does the county address a mosquito problem?
Refer to the Mosquito Control Program Page for more information.
What is the purpose of the Stormwater Advisory Board?
Refer to the Stormwater Advisory Board Page for more information.
What can I do to help my community?
Refer to the What Can I Do Page of the Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium or the Volunteer Programs Page for more information.
Who pays for stormwater management?
Refer to the Stormwater Utility Fee Page for more information.
Can I drain my pool to a storm drain, ditch, or stream?
Swimming pools contain chemicals and additives to inhibit aquatic growth. Release of these chemicals to the natural environment can be harmful and is considered illegal discharge. Before draining, swimming pools should stand for at least 72 hours without addition of new chemicals or additives so that those chemicals may evaporate. Routine backwash during normal operation may be discharged to an infiltration trench or pit or a 25-foot long grassed area (or the width of the drainage easement, whichever is greater) to allow dilution before entering a nearby stream or stormwater pond. Chemically treated swimming pools should NEVER be discharged directly into streams, waterways, ditches, or storm drains without express permission from Horry County Stormwater. Please note that public and community pools are subject to additional requirements from SC Dept. of Health and Environmental Control. Please click here for more information about public pool permitting requirements.