Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.
(Greenville, SC – Greenville Journal) Save Our Saluda, an environmental advocacy group, has received $54,550 from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to create a plan to reduce sediment runoff in the North Saluda River and Saluda Lake, which provide drinking water and recreation for thousands of Upstate residents.
“The plan will be a roadmap for restoration and protection efforts and will help facilitate funding for future implementation projects,” said Melanie Ruhlman, president of Save Our Saluda, in a press release. “I am especially excited about the wonderful partnership of organizations that have agreed to cooperate and help guide the project.”
The group has partnered with 11 stakeholders, including Greenville County, Greenville Water, and Renewable Water Resources, to complete the plan and restore the lake and river, which have experienced high levels of sediment runoff over the years from development and other sources.
(Lexington, SC – WIS) A lethal drug cocktail is setting up camp in South Carolina.
The mystery concoction goes by many names: “China White,” “Tango and Cash,” and “Murder Eight.” It’s a drug we all know: heroin. But now, in epic proportions, dealers are cutting it with synthetic opiates like fentanyl and carfentanil.
Lt. Robby Lint runs the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Division.
“It’s everywhere. The increase has come – it’s made it,” Lt. Lint said. “It’s not just nationally you see it in the big cities and all the other big states and all that. It’s everywhere. And it’s here in Lexington County.”
In 2016, there were 44 overdose deaths in Lexington County. So far in 2017, there have been 25 overdose deaths, with the coroner attributing 18 of those to opioid overdoses.
It’s worse in Richland County: in 2016, there were 44 opioid overdose deaths. Through June 2017, the county has already topped the 44 overdose death.
“It’s across the board touching everybody,” Lt. Lint said. “It’s not your typical what we’re used to hearing or seeing drug addict.”
In fact, white males between the ages of 25 to 34 and 34 to 55 are the most likely group to overdose. According to DHEC, males are 40 percent more likely to overdose than women.
(Charleston, SC – AP) – The collapse of the tarps on Don Holt Bridge has prompted an investigation into possible environmental contamination.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reports that the tarps that fell onto Interstate 526 last week were supposed to serve as a containment system to catch any hazardous waste created from the cleaning of lead paint on the structural steel.
The state contract for the work states that the contractor responsible for cleanup must report release of lead into the environment exceeding regulatory limits to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
A DHEC spokesman says the agency hasn’t received reports of material falling into the Cooper River. Eagle Industrial Painting of Ohio received the painting contract.
Department of Transportation spokesman James Law says the final investigation report will include environmental issues.
For more news on health and the environment, visit our blog regularly.