Category Archives: Environment

Enhanced Water Monitoring on Lower Saluda River Has Begun

A variety of stakeholders have come together to start an enhanced water quality monitoring program for the Lower Saluda Scenic River during the peak recreational season. DHEC is a key stakeholder in the group, whose goal is to encourage safe recreational use of the river.

Weekly water quality testing has begun and data will be available at LowerSaluda3howsmyscriver.org/saluda in the near future. The enhanced monitoring will provide more timely interventions as well as ultimately better protection of the river.

The Lower Saluda River Coalition is made up of river-related businesses, environmental groups, local and state government, property owners, industry and other users of the river.

One of the main purposes of the coalition is to ensure the safety of individuals recreating on the rivers and to educate the public on issues related to natural waters.

The first objective is to make water quality information more frequently and readily available to river users so they can make informed decisions on when to recreate in the river.  This is the first program of its type for inland waters. DHEC also has a robust beach monitoring program.

The enhanced monitoring program for the Lower Saluda will run from June to September this year and May through September in future years.  It involves eight monitoring locations that will be sampled weekly.  The first sampling event was June 21. Results from the sampling will be on the website soon.

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.

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.