Monthly Archives: June 2017

DHEC in the News: National HIV Testing Day, Adopt-a-Stream, Murrells Inlet wetlands, Riverside Park

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

The [Minority AIDS Council] will be sponsoring a community forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, at New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Orangeburg. The program’s topic will be “Shining a Light on HIV/AIDS in the Tri-County.”

A discussion panel will include Shiheda Furse, community manager at HopeHealth, which provides outpatient treatment and care for people with HIV/AIDS living in the tri-county region; MAC member and HIV advocate Pat Kelly and the Rev. Todd A. Brown, pastor of New Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Wilhemina Dixon, a Barnwell County woman whose story of resilience after both her daughter and her granddaughter were diagnosed with AIDS became the subject of a PBS documentary, will also be a panelist.

Brown said he hopes the forum will bring about change, particularly within the African-American community, where HIV/AIDS infection rates are the highest.

Worried about the water in a nearby river? You can do something about it.

Adopt-A-Stream is looking for volunteers to document river conditions monthly and alert regulators of changing water quality or illegal discharges. Volunteers will be trained in classes and given a website to work from.

They will collect visual, chemical, bacteria and macroinvertebrate samples. Macroinvertebrates are creatures without backbones, including bugs, mollusks and crustaceans.

Some new wetlands should soon be taking root in Murrells Inlet.

The blankets of plants, including iris, sedge, spartina, black needlerush, soft-stem rush and yellow water canna, were installed at two sites June 14.

If things go according to plan, the plants will root in the pond soil and spread.

The manmade wetlands, both floating and nonfloating, are an outgrowth of the Murrells Inlet 2020 watershed plan, created to protect the inlet’s fragile marsh and shellfish beds.

  • DHEC is working with North Augusta city officials to dispose of contaminated soil found at Riverside Park.

About a month ago, construction workers came across contaminated soil when they were moving dirt around center field.

“When they started digging they could even smell the fumes from it,” said City Administrator Todd Glover.

The future home of the Augusta GreenJackets used to be what we’ve come to know as an industrial park.

For more health and environmental news, visit Live Healthy SC.

DHEC in the News: South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream program, Reedy Falls, mosquito control grant

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

The SCAAS program, which will mirror the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream (GAAAS) program, will promote and expand existing South Carolina volunteer stream monitoring efforts by providing volunteer monitors with a website for information, a database to maintain water quality monitoring data, training classes and materials, and other useful resources. Many volunteer organizations in South Carolina have already been using the Georgia program to monitor and record water quality in the streams and rivers around the Palmetto State.

  • The City of Greenville has begun a restoration project on Reedy Falls.

The stream bank restoration project is expected to take a week. Boulders are being placed along the Reedy River bank to help prevent erosion and create a safer slope between the river and sidewalk.

The grant provides funds to purchase additional insecticides and improved spraying equipment as well as to help pay for training in effective mosquito control procedures.

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week

“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!”

That’s the National Weather Service’s way saying that we must take thunderstorms and the lightning that accompanies them seriously. During this Lightning Safety Awareness Week, which runs June 18-24, take time to learn what to do — and not to do — when thunderstorms threaten.

Lightning ranks among the top storm-related killers in the United States. About two-thirds of lightning-related deaths are associated with outdoor recreational activities. Although lightning injuries and fatalities can occur during any time of the year, deaths caused by lightning are highest during the summer. Generally, July is the month when lightning is most active.

Seek shelter if you’re outside

It is critical to know what to do when thunderstorms head your way. If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone outdoor plans or make sure adequate safe shelter is readily available.

When you hear thunder, go inside. You are not safe anywhere outside. Do not seek shelter under trees. Instead, run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark, threatening clouds developing overhead. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.

If you can’t make it inside or in a vehicle, take these precautions:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects.
  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Tents do not protect you from lightning.
  • Stay away from water, wet items and metal objects (such as fences and poles). Electricity easily passes through water and metal.

Protect yourself while inside

If you are indoors, be aware that although your home is a safe shelter during a lightning storm, you might still be at risk. About one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors.  When inside:

  • Avoid contact with corded phones, computers, laptops, game systems, washers, dryers or anything connected to an electrical outlet. Lightning can travel through electrical systems.
  • Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls. Lightning also can travel through metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
  • Unplug electrical equipment.

For more information on thunderstorms and lightning safety, visit the following links:

www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/safety-overview.shtml

cdc.gov/disasters/lightning/index.html

 lightning.org/lsa-week/

DHEC in the News: Old Sandy Run Road reopened, health risks in swimming pools and water parks, summer festival

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

  • The SC Department of Transportation has reopened Old Sandy Run Road.

DHEC informed the South Carolina Department of Transportation that the owner of the earthen dam near Old Sandy Run Road in Calhoun County has cleared some debris in the structure. Old Sandy Run Road was reopened Sunday.

  • Bacteria and parasites living in pools and water parks can make people sick.

Each summer, hundreds of thousands of people head to pools and water parks to have fun and find relief from the heat. Many don’t consider the health risk from bacteria and parasites.

The event is sponsored by Friends of the Edisto River. The Edisto originates in Saluda and Edgefield counties and reaches the ocean at Edisto Beach, in Colleton County.

DHEC in the News: swimming advisory lifted, Duke Endowment grant, Shem Creek, 111 candles

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

A swimming advisory for a portion of Surfside Beach has been lifted. For access to advisories, tide tables, forecasts and more, visit the coastal resources hub on our website.

RMC Vice President of Strategy & Compliance Brenda Williams led the creation of the Tri-County Health Network as a nonprofit organization in 2012 and currently serves as chair of the network.

“Receiving a grant from The Duke Endowment is a great acknowledgment of the work the Tri-County Health Network is doing in our communities,” Williams said.

“Since its creation, the network has made a significant impact on health in Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties by implementing a variety of programs, including community gardens, faith-based health programs, area health summits and chronic disease forums,” she said. “This funding will allow the network to have an even greater reach.”

  • Two areas of Shem Creek have still not been cleared for swimming:

The good news is that three areas previously flagged on Shem Creek for high levels of bacteria have been cleared for swimming after a Wednesday water quality test by the Charleston Waterkeeper.

Unfortunately, two of several areas on the report remain “in the red.”

Exposure to water is still discouraged at Brittlebank Park and James Island Creek (test site 2).

  • While DHEC doesn’t keep track of how many South Carolinians are over 100, we wish a happy birthday to Laura Wright, who celebrated her 111th birthday this week:

Laura Wright’s devotion to solving crossword puzzles was put on hold Thursday as family and friends celebrated her 111th birthday.

The retired teacher attributes her longevity to “the hands of the Lord.”

No one knows if she is the oldest person living in South Carolina, although amateur genealogists consulted by her relatives say she is in the running for that title.

For more news from DHEC, visit Live Healthy SC.