Category Archives: Air Quality

January is National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month, and DHEC is encouraging all South Carolinians to test their homes for radon.

Radon is a cancer causing, radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste, and is responsible for more than 21,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Smokers who are exposed to radon have an even higher risk of lung cancer.

Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Any home can have a radon gas problem. The only way to determine if your home is trapping radon is to test.

Each year, the South Carolina Radon Program provides a limited number of radon test kits to homeowners free of charge. Request your free home test kit at www.scdhec.gov/radon.

Homes can be modified to reduce radon levels, and new homes can be built with radon-resistant features. South Carolina has nationally certified radon professionals who can measure radon and fix homes with elevated radon. Find a certified mitigation specialist.

Governor’s Proclamation

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an official proclamation recognizing January 2020 as Radon Action Month.

Registration Now Open for the 13th Annual Environmental Assistance Conference on November 19, 2019

DHEC’s Office of Environmental Affairs will host the 13th Annual Environmental Assistance Conference on Tuesday, November 19, from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Cooperative Conference Center (169 Laurelhurst Ave, Columbia, SC).  This year’s theme is Compliance Assistance and Customer Service: DHEC and Industry Working Together.  The agenda will include regulatory compliance and permitting topics, such as hazardous waste, dams, stormwater, air quality, solid waste and legislative updates.

Additionally, the conference will feature up to 30 local businesses and organizations in our exhibitor showcase. DHEC staff will also be available to answer any technical or permitting questions.

“DHEC’s annual Environmental Assistance Conference unites environmental regulators with DHEC staff and offers an exciting opportunity for continued learning and instruction on important topics relevant to our community and partners,” said Myra Reece, DHEC’s director of Environmental Affairs.  “DHEC strives to meet our agency values of pursing excellence, innovation, service and teamwork. This conference is just one example of how DHEC’s dedicated Environmental Affairs team exemplifies our agency’s values by creating a learning and networking environment between the regulated community and our staff year after year.”

Deadline to register is Sunday, November 10.  Registration for both attendees and exhibitors is on a first come, first serve basis. Space is available for up to 30 exhibitors and approximately 250 attendees. The attendee fee is $45 per person. The exhibitor fee is $300 per table and includes registration for two attendees. All registrations include access to the exhibitor room, all presentations, a light breakfast and lunch.

For conference updates and to register for the conference, please visit our website at www.scdhec.gov/environment/eac.  Questions about the conference or registration can be directed to Rebecca Sproles at sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov or 803-898-3139. You don’t want to miss this event!

 

How Recycling Impacts South Carolina

According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, South Carolinians generate approximately 4.2 million tons of household trash and garbage annually. The South Carolina Solid Waste Policy and Management Act outlines the regulatory framework for insuring proper location, design, construction, operation and closure of solid waste facilities and requires maintenance of a state solid waste management plan.  The act also sets waste reduction and recycling goals for the state.

Why should we recycle?

Recycling is not mandatory, so why should we care?  According to www.recyclemoresc.org,

  • Recycling helps protect the environment. It conserves resources, prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect raw materials to make new products and lessens the need to build landfills.
  • Recycling helps our state’s economy. South Carolina has about 500 recycling businesses that provide more than 22,000 jobs.
  • Recycling saves energy. Manufacturing products from recycled materials use far less energy than creating the same product from raw material.

Check out the top 10 reasons why we should recycle.  Visit our website for places to recycle in your community.

DHEC in the News: Beach Water Advisories, Champions of the Environment

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

What state health officials want beach-goers to know about water advisories

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — It’s officially beach season in Myrtle Beach and with that comes water advisories. However, officials with the South Carolina Department of Health say bacteria in the water advisories don’t mean the beach is closed for swimming.

DHEC’s Champions of the Environment Program

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Each year eight schools statewide are awarded a Champions of the Environment Grant for their environmental education projects.

Breathe Better (B2) for Businesses

As the population and the number of businesses grow, so does the volume of vehicles on the road in a single day. This can be challenging for keeping the air in South Carolina clean and safe.

The good news is South Carolina does have clean air and is currently attaining all of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.  These standards were established to protect public health. Maintaining favorable air quality by keeping emissions at a minimum will help keep South Carolina within the air quality standards and protect public health.

Your business can be a leader in your community by implementing air pollution reduction strategies to maintain good air quality in South Carolina:

  • Register to be a Breathe Better (B2) business. You will receive anti-idling signs that can go in your loading areas and parking lots.
  • Sign up for the EPA Air Quality Flag Program and display the corresponding air quality desktop sign in your place of business.
  • Create and support a telecommuting policy for your employees so they can work from home one or more days a week to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
  • Create and support an alternative work schedule. A flexible work schedule allows your employees to stagger their work schedule to avoid driving in peak rush hour traffic.
  • Encourage carpooling and vanpooling. Sharing your daily commute can reduce the number of vehicles on the road and save on gas.
  • Install a bike rack at your business and encourage employees to ride a bike or walk to work whenever possible. It’s good for the environment and your health.
  • Consider replacing and/or purchasing fleet vehicles with hybrid vehicles or electric vehicles.
  • Look for opportunities to reduce diesel emissions through reduction strategies and technologies. South Carolina Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Grants are available for eligible applicants to help fund these types of projects.