Tag Archives: Environment

DHEC in the News: flu, Surfside Beach’s proposed ban of plastic bags

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

SC Health Department encourages pregnant women to get flu shots

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging pregnant women to get their flu shots.

According to a recent panel survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control, many pregnant women are at risk of getting the flu this season.

Worst SC Flu Season in 8 Years’ May Be Underway

Lexington, SC (WLTX) – This may be the worst flu season in South Carolina in eight years, according to doctors with Lexington Medical Center.

The hospital said Tuesday that in the first week of this year, they’ve had 300 cases of the flu. That compares to 550 cases in December, and just 80 in the month of November.

The most recent flu activity report from DHEC, which was done at the end of last month, showed that the flu was ‘widespread’ in the state. That same survey found that Richland County had the highest number of cases in the Midlands over a one week period.

Plastic bags on route to being banned in Surfside Beach

SURFSIDE BEACH

Plastic bags may soon be banned from the Town of Surfside Beach, after the town council passed the first reading of the ordinance Tuesday night.

“I think banning plastic bags is a good thing,” Surfside Beach Mayor Bill Childs said. “I think this is a good thing that Mrs. Samples has brought forward, and I certainly hope that council does support this. It’s a step in the right direction.”

Three Companies Will Continue Efforts to Protect S.C.’s Environment

Kudos to Patheon API, Inc., CB&I AREVA MOX Services and Comatrol Danfoss for continuing their efforts to protect and preserve South Carolina’s environment by renewing their membership in the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP).

The SCEEP is a voluntary program for companies committed to continuous environmental improvement.  Membership in the program must be renewed every three years.

More about the three companies

Patheon API, Inc. (formerly Roche Carolina, Inc.) has been a member of the program since 2009.  During the past three years, Patheon has made upgrades to equipment to better control air emissions as well as a new system to use during periods of downtime.  With the installation of the new Cryogenic Condensation System and the Carbon Adsorption System, the facility has reported a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 1,400 tons per year.  The company has also installed new chiller units that use a more environmentally friendly refrigerant. Patheon is focusing more on energy conservation and finding new ways to be an environmental leader.

CB&I AREVA MOX Services, located at the Savannah River Site, is a company that is constructing a facility to manufacture pellets by recycling surplus plutonium and mixing it with uranium to be used as fuel in nuclear reactors.  Recently, MOX Services has developed a method to remove the valve pins from their small propylene gas cylinders to ensure they are empty. The cylinders can then be shipped to an offsite facility for recycling.  Without developing the system to remove the pins, the cylinders were considered hazardous waste and unable to be recycled as there was no way to determine if they were [RCRA] empty.  Also, the amount of diesel fuel has been reportedly significantly reduced by running temporary electricity to the diesel generators and diesel light plants when they are needed in operation.  MOX Services has been a member of the SCEEP since 2011.

Comatrol Danfoss, located in Easley, SC, has been a member of SCEEP since 2009. Recycling and energy savings are top priorities at Comatrol Danfoss. The company strives to recycle products used in their production from waste generated to metal turnings and hydraulic oil.  Over the next three years, Comatrol Danfoss plans to further reduce its energy usage by installing new LED lamps and motion detectors for offices to ensure lights are only on when they need to be.  Water saving fixtures and water conserving units also will be installed. Each employee at the Comatrol Danfoss facility is working towards a 5 percent reduction in water usage and landfill reduction.

Congratulations to these three outstanding members of the SC Environmental Excellence Program.  Each of these companies will be members through 2020.

For more information about the SCEEP, please contact Rebecca Sproles at sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov or 803-898-3139.

South Atlantic Canners renews its commitment to protect the environment

Congratulations to South Atlantic Canners/Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated on their recent renewal into the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP), a voluntary program for companies committed to improving and protecting our state’s environment.

South Atlantic Canners is located in Bishopville, South Carolina, and is the second largest production center for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. They have four production lines, including the fastest can and 2-liter lines in the company.  Approximately 38 million cases of Coca-Cola product is produced at the facility per year.

South Atlantic Canners reportedly achieved zero waste to landfill status in 2014 and any materials that can’t be recycled are sent to an energy recovery facility.  Between 2011 and 2015, the facility reduced its overall carbon footprint by 3 percent, despite having an 8 percent increase in production.  They have also reportedly had decreases in their carbon dioxide emissions.

Community activities are also a strong point at South Atlantic Canners.  They are members of an “Adopt a Highway” program and have developed an “Adopt a Stream” program.  They have an extensive in-house recycling program and encourage employee participation on a recycling team.  Other community activities include a rain barrel donation program as well as a rain garden.

Join us in congratulating South Atlantic Canners/Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated on their renewed membership in the SCEEP.  Their membership will continue through March of 2020.

For more information about the SCEEP, please contact Rebecca Sproles at 803-898-3139 or sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov.

DHEC in the News: West Nile Virus, Infant Sleep Safety, Mt. Pleasant Water, Assisted Living Facility

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

Hurricane Matthew continues to leave its mark on Beaufort County with West Nile cases

(Beaufort, SC – Island Packet) Just two human cases of the West Nile virus have ever been confirmed in Beaufort County — both within eight months of Hurricane Matthew.

Gregg Hunt, Beaufort County Mosquito Control director, said the timing of the events is no coincidence.

“Hurricane Matthew has played a major role in what we’re seeing,” Hunt said.

“After Hurricane Matthew, a lot of debris had fallen into standing water caused by the flooding and tidal waves,” he said. “And organic material decaying in the water produces an ideal breeding ground for that kind of mosquito (that carries West Nile) … That’s what set the tone after the hurricane.”

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According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, about 1 in 5 people who are infected with the West Nile virus will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. These people likely will have a full recovery, but fatigue and weakness could last for weeks or months.

Less than 1 percent of those infected will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to the release.

Mom’s heartbreaking Facebook post raises awareness about safe sleeping conditions for babies

(Greenville, SC – FOX Carolina) According to DHEC, 194 babies died between 2009 and 2015 in South Carolina due of unsafe sleeping conditions, making this the third leading cause of infant deaths in the state.

“This cause of death is 100 percent preventable,” said Michelle Greco, manager of the Child Abuse Prevention Program at Greenville Health System.

Greco says babies under 1 year of age should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a fitted sheet and a firm mattress.

“Anytime that an infant under the first year of life is put down to sleep it needs to be treated the same,” said Greco, “They need to be alone with no other people, pets or objects.”

Mt. Pleasant residents ‘trying to have faith’ as they wait on results of DHEC water tests

(Mt. Pleasant, SC – ABC News4)  Several people living in Mount Pleasant want answers to concerns over water quality, and DHEC is now doing something about it.

Tuesday, workers were in Mount Pleasant testing water samples. It’s all part of an effort to find out if there is something in the water that could pose a health hazard.

DHEC samples were taken from three houses in the Mount Pleasant area. Officials with Mount Pleasant Waterworks said they chose those areas because of recent concerns.

Charleston assisted living facility where woman was killed by nearby alligator could face enforcement from DHEC

(Charleston, SC – Post and Courier) …Department of Health and Environmental Control investigators found [Brookdale Charleston] staff did not follow their own guidelines to conduct night checks on [Bonnie] Walker, a plan put in place when she had wandered off before. She had left the facility days prior “looking to go home,” and staff decided she needed to be housed in a memory care unit.

Now Brookdale Charleston could be facing enforcement action from DHEC. Representatives of the facility met with state officials June 13. A spokesman for DHEC said the two parties are “working on finalizing a consent order.” Brookdale declined to comment on the matter.

Such meetings are an opportunity for a facility to present any evidence of their own, said Pam Dukes, formerly a health regulator with DHEC. It would be “very unusual” for the negotiation not to end in enforcement, Dukes explained, which could mean a fine or a license suspension.

For more health and environmental news, check Live Healthy SC regularly.

DHEC in the News: Shem Creek, Folly Beach, Rabies, Seismic Testing

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

Keep local creeks clean

Charleston, SC (Post and Courier) – There could be as many as 18 failing septic tanks lining the Shem Creek watershed in Mount Pleasant, potentially leaking harmful fecal bacteria into one of the town’s most popular recreational attractions. And that could be the best case scenario, considering that the town’s latest information is 10 years old.

Sand from the Folly River would be used to fix Folly east end beaches under city plan

Folly Beach, SC (Post and Courier) – Folly Beach wants to use sand from the Folly River to restore beaches on the east end of the island where hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew did heavy damage.

The city has submitted an application for the work to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Some 18,000 dump truck loads of sand from the river would be placed on 26 acres of beach between 8th Street East and 14th Street East, according to the application.

Rabid Woodchuck found in Oconee Co.

Oconee County, SC (WSPA) – … one person has been referred to their healthcare provider for consultation after being potentially exposed to rabies by a woodchuck, also known as a groundhog or whistle pig, which tested positive for the disease.

Two woodchucks were observed fighting with one another before one turned on the victim, who was subsequently bitten and scratched. This exposure occurred near the intersection of Playground Road and Highway 28 South in Walhalla. One of the woodchucks was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on July 3 and was confirmed to have rabies the same day. The other woodchuck was not available for testing.

NOAA gives more time to comment on offshore seismic tests

Charleston, SC (Post and Courier) – Federal regulators are giving people two more weeks to comment on plans for permitting seismic testing offshore because of the deluge of comments already received. Drill-or-don’t-drill has become a controversy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received thousands of comments, a news release said.

More information about seismic surveying is available on our website.