Tag Archives: Environment

DHEC Now Accepting Nominations for “Spare the Air” Awards

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of Air Quality is accepting nominations for its 2017 “Spare the Air” Awards.  Any project that can demonstrate reductions in air pollution in any part of the State during 2016 is eligible.

The “Spare the Air” Awards are presented to environmental stewards that have made a voluntary commitment to promote and practice initiatives that improve air quality in South Carolina.

“Through partnerships and collaborative efforts of individuals, organizations and local governments, excellent work is being done voluntarily to reduce air pollution and conserve energy in South Carolina,” said Rhonda Thompson, chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality. “Air quality has gained a great deal of attention in recent years and people are recognizing the importance of protecting and improving our air quality.”

Thompson said the awards show appreciation to those who go the extra mile to help protect our environment.

The goals of the awards program are to

  • Promote a healthier environment through air quality initiatives that are sustainable and replicable;
  • Educate, build awareness and motivate others to make better decisions about the environment through air quality improvements;
  • Encourage positive behavioral changes that improve air quality;
  • Strengthen and build partnerships with businesses, organizations and the citizens of South Carolina to improve air quality.

Award categories include:

  • Outstanding Business/Industry
  • Outstanding Employee(s)
  • Outstanding Local Government
  • Outstanding School or District
  • Outstanding College or University
  • Outstanding Community Campaign


Nominations must be received by February 1, 2017 for 2016 projects. For more information, the award nomination application, and past winners, go to: www.scdhec.gov/sparetheairawards.

MPLX Terminals, LLC Renews Membership in S.C. Environmental Excellence Program


The SC Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP) recognizes the MPLX Terminals, LLC (MPX) terminal in Belton, South Carolina, on its renewed membership in the program. This MPLX facility has been a member since 2009 and strives to be an industry leader in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

SCEEP is a voluntary environmental leadership initiative designed to recognize and reward facilities that have demonstrated superior environmental performance through pollution prevention, energy and resource conservation, and the use of an environmental management system. Any South Carolina facility committed to waste reduction and continuous environmental improvement is eligible to participate.

In the past three years, MPLX’s terminal has initiated energy conservation efforts that include upgrading a vapor recovery unit with physical and programmable logic changes that allow the system to operate on demand instead of continuously.

The terminal has also implemented an inspection program to monitor overfill probes on transport trailers. Through this program, the facility is able to prevent spills and the overfilling of tankers, while also preventing petroleum haulers from intentionally bypassing safety devices.

In addition, rainwater in the transport loading areas is collected and shipped to a reclamation/treatment facility to reclaim petroleum. Through this effort, the terminal has been able to reclaim more than 450,000 gallons of contaminated water.

The terminal is also active in its community though a “Good Neighbor” program. At this facility’s open house, the community is invited to see the terminal and learn more about its operations. Another program is the MPLX Philanthropy Program, through which grants were awarded to the Belton Fire Department and the Cheddar Fire Department. Belton Interfaith Ministries also received a grant to continue their work with inner city residents and those in need. The terminal also participates in emergency response drills with the local fire departments and county HAZMAT teams.

Congratulations to MPLX Terminals, LLC and its Belton terminal on its membership renewal in the SCEEP and for doing its part to be a leader for energy efficiency and a responsible environmental steward.

Champions of the Environment: Deerfield Recycling Initiative

Guest Post by Ms. Brooke Scott, Deerfield Elementary School

Environmental education has always been a passion of mine. I fully believe in environmental project based education, which helps students learn to care about the planet, about their community, and about each other.  I work to build students’ sense of environmental self-efficacy, empowering them to improve the planet and to encourage others to do likewise. I want our students to feel they are leaders who are making great things happen. They are the change agents of the future.

Over the past two years, Deerfield Elementary in Lexington, South Carolina has created a strong recycling program. This year we directed our focus on ways we can partner with the community to make an even stronger and lasting impact on the environment and strengthen our recycling and conservation programs.

We expanded the amount of items we recycle and developed a more efficient recycling system by utilizing the recycling organizers we purchased through the Champions of the Environment grant from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.  We created a “Planet Heroes Conservation Team” that is responsible for all of our recycling and conservation efforts throughout the school. The team is composed of two students from each classroom and the team rotates in new students every nine weeks. By year’s end almost 200 students will have served as a Planet Hero and learned about the importance of conservation and recycling.

We share our progress and our recycling efforts through “thermometers” placed in the hallways and through QR codes placed near our recycling organizers. Many relationships have been formed and ideas have been shared through our recycling efforts and events. We have impacted possibly thousands of people through social media, school-wide events, infographics, and presentations. We have worked diligently to share the story about our recycling success to hopefully motivate and inspire others. Seeing the students’ leadership shine through these opportunities is truly the best part of the project!

Challenges present themselves at various times. One challenge we face is getting the recycling to yard container in the back of the school. We are still working through this process, especially since it presents a safety risk for students dumping materials from a loading dock and requires constant supervision.

Teaching students, parents, businesses and community members about the importance of reducing landfills, saving natural resources, eliminating pollution, recycling and reducing greenhouse gas can have positive impacts on the environment for many years to come.

My advice for teachers wanting to start an environmental education project is always have your students in mind when planning anything. What do you want them to know and be able to do at the end of the project? How can you help them become leaders and teach others? Find opportunities to let your students shine! All learning should be authentic and relevant to students. Get the community involved and utilize resources around you. Don’t be afraid to ask experts to come talk to your students, plan a skype session, or have your students interview them! So many people are willing to help!

This post is part of a series of posts on environmental education submitted by DHEC’s Champions of the Environment 2016 winners.

About Champions of the Environment
Champions of the Environment provides resources and support to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The program is sponsored by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, International Paper and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. For more information, visit www.scdhec.gov/champions.

Reduce Holiday Waste

By Richard Chesley, DHEC Recycling Program manager

The holidays. We do more, buy more, eat more. And,  we throw away more.

Think about it. The food waste, shopping bags, packaging, ribbons and bows, wrapping paper and boxes – it all adds up. In fact, it’s estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans throw away about 25 percent more trash than any other time of the year.

In South Carolina, it is estimated that we dispose of nearly 960,000 tons of waste between November and the end of January – comprising 31 percent of the total waste disposed of in a year!

But it doesn’t have to be the most wasteful time of the year. The holidays are a perfect time to reduce, reuse and recycle.


Give more, waste less gift

Think about gifts that make memories, not waste. For example, you could give tickets to a game or concert, a membership to a gym or fitness classes, gift certificates for a massage or manicure, classes to learn a new hobby or even give some homemade cookies in a reusable tin.If something more tangible is on your list – Keep it simple. One thoughtful gift is better than too many that may become unwanted.

Let’s wrap it up (or not)

Who needs wrapping paper? Use a simple ribbon or bow for large gifts and try reusing old maps, blueprints, or pages from the Sunday comics for a unique and eco-friendly gift presentation they will love. Be sure to save reusable bows, boxes and bags for next year!

It’s in the cards

Consider sending e-cards rather than paper ones this year or look for recycled-content holiday postcards that will save you on postage and envelopes.


When the holidays are over, remember to recycle your Christmas tree. Call your local recycling coordinator or click here to learn where you can take your tree to be mulched or composted.

Make a grocery list, and check it twice
Did you know that food waste is the biggest contributor to landfills? Help reduce wasted food by buying only what you need, donating what you don’t and safely storing leftovers so you can get the most out of your meals. For the food waste you do generate, try composting – it’s a gift to your garden.

Recycle more

If we had just one thing on our holiday wish list, it would be to  recycle during the holidays and throughout the year. It’s easy, it supports jobs and it helps keep South Carolina clean and beautiful. From empty green bean cans to drink bottles to tires and trees – click here to find what and where to recycle near you.

For more information about recycling and other solid waste management topics, please call the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling at 1-800-768-7348 or visit www.scdhec.gov/recycle.

DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Hosts 10th Annual Environmental Assistance Conference

By Rebecca Sproles, DHEC Environmental Quality Control and Stacey Washington, Bureau of Land and Waste Management

Nearly 220 environmental professionals attended the 10th Annual Environmental Assistance Conference on November 4, 2015 at the Columbia Conference Center. The conference, hosted by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), provides businesses, industries, municipalities, universities and consultants with valuable information on South Carolina’s environmental regulations, permitting and best practices for compliance.Air Quality 101

Attendees were able to hear the latest news and updates directly from DHEC staff specializing in a broad range of environmental areas from water to waste management. In addition to regulatory topics, attendees also learned about technical assistance and outreach programs that DHEC provides to make it easier for businesses to maintain optimal compliance.

hazardous waste packed house

The event fosters engagement and discussion between state regulators and those they regulate and provides networking opportunities for professionals to make connections and share ideas. Session topics included air quality basics and permit flexibility, hazardous waste generator categories and regulations, underground storage tank regulation updates, stormwater permitting and tools, what to expect during inspections, and recycling and food waste management options.

EAC DHEC booth

The conference is designed to be informative for all experience levels with two conference tracks offered this year- one for experienced environmental professionals and another focused on environmental basics for those new to the field.

Heigel 3The conference concluded with an update from the Air, Water and Land and Waste Management Bureaus within Environmental Affairs and the keynote address given by DHEC Director, Catherine Heigel. Thank you to everyone who attended and presented at the event!

For more information and to view presentation from the event, visit www.scdhec.gov/Environment/EAC