CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Hurricane Matthew greatly impacted the Charleston area, including the restaurant industry, as shellfish can be at risk for contamination during significant flooding.
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), all shellfish beds in the state are closed until the water can be tested. The runoff that occurs during flooding brings in water from all over, including some which can contain bacteria from sewage. If human waste or high bacteria levels are present, it can take up to 21 days for the water to be deemed cleared, and shellfish safe to eat.
DHEC officials say they hope to finish the tests as soon as possible, but 25 shellfish beds that need to be tested. There is no word when the shellfish beds will be open.
Restaurant owners say residents should not worry about the impact on the demand or shellfish prices.
October marks the beginning of shellfish season.