The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has extended an advisory to avoid contact with ocean water at Charleston area beaches to now include Seabrook and Edisto Islands.
This is in response to a heavy oil spill first found last week in the water off of Sullivan’s Island, Morris Island to the Folly Beach Pier and out to Fort Sumter.
The agency announced the expanded advisory Sunday.
The U.S Coast Guard is investigating the incident and is coordinating the cleanup. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Jim Litzinger explained when the advisory was first issued that a heavy oil substance that investigators are calling “tar balls” can cause irritation of the skin and eyes. If ingested in large amounts, it could cause nausea and vomiting.
A DHEC spokesperson says the advisory includes ocean water and any marshes or inlets in the affected area, but drinking water supplies are not affected.