Category Archives: Environment

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: Environmental testing at abandoned SC mill, Possum spotted inside local restaurant, SC opioid epidemic

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

Environmental testing to occur at abandoned SC mill site

LYMAN, S.C. (WRAL.com) Environmental testing could start by the end of the month at an abandoned mill in South Carolina to determine how best to clean it up.  Lyman officials hope the 50-acre (8 hectare) property could be redeveloped to bring new life to an area that has become an eyesore after the plant closed in 2005.

 

‘I paid my bill of $36 and left’: SC woman spotted opossum inside restaurant during meal

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS.com) Customers at a Columbia area restaurant recently received an unexpected visit at the bar. A South Carolina woman says she and her family noticed an opossum under the counter at Applebee’s on Fernandina Road Friday night. Needless to say, the woman was less than thrilled by the possum’s appearance.

 

Experts say the opioid epidemic is putting people at risk for Hepatitis C infections

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBFNews.com) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates nearly 2.4 million Americans live with Hepatitis C. Studies show there’s a link between the infectious disease and the opioid epidemic. In South Carolina, the number of diagnosed cases has gone up since 2010.  Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through injection drug use. The CDC reports in 2012, there were around 3,300 cases of Hepatitis C in the Palmetto State. That number nearly doubled in 2018 with a little over 6,400 cases of chronic Hepatitis C, with the rate of approximately 127 per 100,000 people.

Be Prepared When Lightning Strikes: Learn More During National Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Summer is the peak season for lightning.  Even though lightning typically does not result in mass destruction like other storm-related concerns, lightning can be just as dangerous.  This week is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week.  Use this week to learn more about lightning and how to protect yourself.

Lightning strikes the earth more than 8 million times per day.  Each year in the United States, about 300 people are struck by lightning.  Of those struck, about 30 people are killed and others suffer lifelong disabilities.  The bolts of lightning are hotter than the surface of the sun and can reach temperatures around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Common unknown facts about lightning:

  • All thunderstorms produce lightning. Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain and may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are in danger. Even if the sky is blue, protect yourself from a potential lightning threat.
  • Lightning travels through wiring and plumbing. Do not use a corded phone or take a bath/shower during a storm.

Follow these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about how to stay safe indoors and outdoors when lightning occurs.  Download the National Weather Service Lightning Safety brochure for you and your family.

 

DHEC In the News: Obtaining Burn Permits, First SC Green Ribbon School Award & Swim Advisories

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

Jasper County Fire-Rescue reminds residents to get burn permits

 

RIDGELAND, S.C. (Bluffton Today) Jasper County Fire-Rescue said in May it has responded to more than 380 calls for service. Crews also responded to seven brush fires, with JCFR saying six were preventable.  JCFR advises residents that anytime you decide to burn, the State Precautions Law requires anyone not within city or town limits to obtain a burn permit from the South Carolina Forestry Commission before lighting the fire.

 

First South Carolina School honored as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School for Environmental Initiatives

COLUMBIA, S.C. (MidlandsBiz.com) Dutch Fork Elementary School in Lexington County is the first South Carolina school to be recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Education for environmentally conscious programming.  The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), in a partnership with the S.C. Department of Education, the S.C. Energy Office and a variety of state and local partners, nominated Dutch Fork Elementary School to be recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School (ED-GRS).

 

DHEC urges people to avoid swimming at this section of Myrtle Beach due to high bacteria levels

 

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (Fox Carolina) The advisory is for water at the public access point at 17th Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach.  DHEC said bacteria levels that are above state and federal standards were detected in the water, and swimming is not advised in the area until bacteria levels return to normal.