Category Archives: Environment

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.

DHEC In the News:  Earthquake emergency preparedness, High Cancer Rates in Anderson County, & Swim Advisories

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

Training keeps first responders up to date with emergency response

KINGSTREE, S.C. (The Kingstree News) On May 16, the Williamsburg County Emergency Management/E-911 Division (EMD) held an Earthquake Tabletop Exercise for Williamsburg County agencies who continually update preparedness in case such an event occurs. There is not a completely reliable method for predicting the time, place and size of an earthquake, especially since the majority of earthquakes occur in the Coastal Plain. Experts do agree that where earthquakes have occurred before, they can again. Therefore it is always important to be prepared.

 

Anderson County cancer rates among the highest in South Carolina and nationally

ANDERSON, S.C. (Anderson Independent Mail) Over the past decade, Anderson County has consistently had more people getting cancer for the first time than the state and national average.

Anderson County is ranked eighth-highest out of the state’s 46 counties for incidences of all types of cancers, according to information provided by the State Department of Health and Environmental Control. Cancer was the leading cause of death in Anderson County, and the second in South Carolina, as of 2017.

 

Carolina This Week with DHEC’s Bryan Rabon

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE-ABC) Bryan Rabon, DHEC’s manager of aquatic science programs, sat down with “Carolina This Week” host Trey Paul to talk about beach monitoring season and the purpose of swim advisories.

Traveling? Worried About Bed Bugs? Here are 3 Fast Facts to Protect Your Family and Home

This time of year is perfect traveling weather in our great state.  However, travel often brings the increased fear of bed bugs.  Causing property damage, skin irritation, and increased expenses, bed bugs are a nuisance worldwide. The good news is that these creepy crawlers are not considered carriers of disease and are, therefore, not a public health threat. Commonly treated by insecticide spraying, there are several steps you can take to help protect your family from bed bugs:

  1. Know how to identify bed bugs and understand where they’re found.
  2. Conduct regular inspections for signs of an infestation.
  3. If you believe you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company to have your home or business properly treated.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) does not have regulatory authority to intervene or respond to bed bug-related issues at hotels, homes, apartments, thrift stores, etc.

Bed bugs at state-licensed healthcare facilities, however, should be reported via online complaint form. For more information about filing a complaint about bed bugs at a regulated healthcare facility, please click here.

Even though DHEC does not inspect, treat or conduct site visits in response to bed bug complaints in homes or hotels, we want to make sure that everyone has access to the information needed to help prevent a bed bug infestation in their home.

Like mosquito bites, bed bug bites typically result in a minor skin irritation. Some people might experience a more severe allergic reaction. If you believe that you are experiencing an adverse reaction to a bed bug bite, please seek medical attention from your healthcare provider.

For more information about bed bugs, click on the following: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Today is National Dam Safety Awareness Day

Did you know there are more than 2,300 regulated dams in South Carolina? The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) oversees compliance for state-regulated dams through the Dams and Reservoirs Safety Program.

National Dam Safety Awareness Day encourages individual and community responsibility for dam safety, while promoting the benefits dams offer to communities.

Dam 1

“As a Dam Safety program inspector, I work with dam owners to ensure dams are safely maintained and identify issues that need to be addressed to prolong the life of the dam and protect downstream life and property.” –Chuck Owens, DHEC Dam Safety Inspector

Dam 3

Recently, the Dam Safety Program has incorporated the use of drones into their inspection process. Inspectors can utilize DHEC’s FAA certified drone pilots, who are able to fly the devices over those exterior features of the dam which are crucial to its safety and integrity but are not accessible by foot. Drones help keep our inspectors safe while improving their capability to survey dams of all sizes quickly and efficiently.

Dam 4Thank you to DHEC’s Dam Safety Program for your dedicated work on the tools, initiatives, and people that help make dam owners and the state’s dam safety program better prepared to handle significant rainfall and other events that have the potential to impact dams in the state.

Meet Jill Stewart, DHEC Director of Dam Safety and Storm Water Permits.

To learn more about DHEC’s Dams and Reservoirs Safety Program, visit https://www.scdhec.gov/environment/water-quality/dams-and-reservoirs/dams-and-reservoirs-safety-program-overview.

May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month

More than 60 million Americans have asthma and allergies!  About 1 in 12 children younger than 18 years old are affected.  Although there is no cure for asthma, the best way to manage asthma is to avoid triggers, take medicine to prevent symptoms, and prepare to treat attacks.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways in the lungs.  During an asthma attack, airways become inflamed, making it hard to breathe.  Asthma attacks can be mild, moderate, or very serious.

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness or pain in the chest

Asthma attacks are triggered by:

  • Allergens (like pollen, mold, dust mites, and animals)
  • Exercise
  • Occupational hazards
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Airway infections

SC Asthma stats

According to the found in children, as well as the leading cause of hospitalizations among children.  There was a 56% decrease in the asthma hospitalization rate among children five years of age and younger.  The asthma hospitalization rate was over four times higher among African-Americans and Other children (19.3 per 10,000) compared to White children (4.5 per 10,000).

For more information about asthma and allergies, visit https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/.