Sewage Spill Leaves Restaurants Dealing with Oyster Recall

March 7, 2018, 1:58 pm EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (CAROLINE BALCHUNAS, WTAT-TV) — An oyster recall in the Lowcountry is hurting local businesses and appetites. Officials say a broken pipe is to blame for a sewage spill in the Hollywood area affecting oyster beds which are now off-limits.

It comes at a bad time because oyster season is in its prime. “Oysters have been consumed in the Lowcountry for a thousand years.”

At Bowen’s Island, they are usually all you can eat. But owner Robert Barber says not right now.

“We’re still serving oysters but we’re doing them by the tray or by the bucket, but we’re pretty well known for doing all you can eat. So we kind of hate to do that.”

Their outside cooler is usually stocked with fresh oysters but he says the sewage spill in a nearby marsh has wiped out a portion of their daily supply.

“When you have a regular system set up and people picking very locally, most of our oysters come from 500-yards to three or four miles from here.”

Now they wait for a haul from McClellanville and Beaufort which has both the business and consumer shelling out extra bucks.

“This is a prime time for oysters, you know. As long as it’s cool through March we usually do pretty strongly with our oysters. It starts slowing down as it warms up.”

Charleston Water officials say this particular breech was hard to detect. Underwater divers had to repair the broken pipe.

Barber says he was told it could take three to four weeks for the spill to clear up. At this time he’s not seeking any damages.