The program educates and certifies citizens in protocols for collecting stream data. The program has a meaningful impact on citizen science because the data generated by SC Adopt-a-Stream volunteers helps to screen for water quality issues, show trends in water quality over time and can be used for educational purposes.
SC Adopt-a-Stream was founded on the belief that people who spend the time to get to know their streams and waterways, through recreation or data collection, will want to work to protect them. The program is a fun, easy way to make a positive impact in your community and help the overall health of South Carolina waterways.
If you are interested in becoming an SC Adopt-a-Stream volunteer or you simply want to learn more about the program, explore the website at www.scadoptastream.org.
Are you familiar with the Savannah River Site? Many South Carolinians aren’t, but if you are from Aiken or Barnwell County, you may have in one way or another been associated with the site whether it be through a long line of family history or as a source of income.
The Savannah River Site (SRS), a 310 square mile area located 20 miles south of Aiken was a large producer of nuclear weapon materials during the Cold War. Due to nuclear material testing and lack of environmental regulation during the Cold War era, the SRS property has been contaminated with radioactive material. Today, its focus is on environmental remediation.
Before and after photos of R Reactor at SRS as the focus of the site shifted from production to remediation
SRS scientists have sampled the air, water, soil, and wildlife for many years. However, to have a verification system for SRS’s annual data, the Department of Energy- Savannah River partnered with DHEC to create the Environmental Surveillance and Oversight Program (ESOP). ESOP is a division of DHEC specific to its Midlands Aiken Environmental Affairs Office. Since 1995, DHEC’s ESOP team has conducted independent, non-regulatory monitoring of SRS.
Members of the ESOP team work to collect and analyze samples of air, water, soil, sediment, vegetation, milk, fish, and game. DHEC scientists take samples at the site, around its perimeter, and in background locations. Depending on the environmental media type, availability, and weather, samples are gathered weekly, quarterly, biannually, and/or annually. DHEC tests the material collected for alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, as well as for non-radiological chemicals. Most of the testing is performed at the State Park lab in Columbia, but some samples are analyzed in the Aiken Office laboratory.
DHEC scientist collecting water samples on the Savannah River
Each year, DHEC publishes an annual report that highlights the previous year’s sampling results of the Savannah River Site. The report’s findings are made available online and are presented to the public through SRS’s Citizens Advisory Board meetings and at local schools, organizations, and events. Recently, DHEC released the 2019 ESOP Data Report and 2019 Raw Data Excel File on its website: https://scdhec.gov/environment/pollution-types-advisories-monitoring/pollution-monitoring-services-advisories/monitoring-8. The publication provides the data collected by DHEC, displays historical trends, and compares DHEC and DOE-SR data for overlapping sample locations.
For inquiries about the report, data, and outreach opportunities, please reach out to Grace Anne Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX.com) It may still feel like summer outside, but the seasons will change in a few weeks. Influenza viruses circulate all year, but flu activity usually begins to pick up in October and peaks between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
WALTERBORO, S.C. (The Press and Standard) A proposal to establish a sand mine in the Cottageville area will be the topic of a South Caroline Department of Health and Environmental Control public hearing next month. The public hearing on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of Cottageville Elementary School, 648 Peirce Rd., will give residents an opportunity to voice their comments and views about MC Dirt Co. LLC of Summerville’s permit application.
SACRAMENTO, C.A. (The Sacramento Bee) People throughout the Southeast can hand over their vaping devices as an “emerging public health threat” looms, federal officials say. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced its Charlotte District Office was teaming up with local officials to accept vaping devices and cartridges at sites across the region on Saturday.
IRMO, S.C. (goupstate.com) There are honeybees in the library, trout in the classrooms and vegetables in the yard at Dutch Fork Elementary. The school’s focus on the environment, sustainable practices, and conservation education recently earned it the first Green Ribbon in South Carolina.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (postandcourier.com) The Medical University of South Carolina is hoping to build three new health facilities, as well as upgrades and renovations to other centers across the state. And they need five separate approvals from the state to do it.
World Water Monitoring Day was established to create awareness about the importance of protecting water resources around the world by engaging people to monitor their local water bodies. Water monitoring kits can be ordered any time for purchase.
Do you like the outdoors and getting your feet wet in streams?
Would you like to learn first-hand about the water quality where you live?
Are you interested in citizen science?
If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, join the citizens of South Carolina who have been certified to monitor stream quality though the South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream program. Established in 2017, SC Adopt-a-Stream is an EPA-approved freshwater monitoring program that teaches volunteers how to collect bacteria, biological parameters, and chemical and physical data (including temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity).
SC Adopt-a-Stream has awarded 1,400 certifications to contribute to the program. Over 200 sites statewide have been identified within the program’s database. Volunteers can become certified to collect data by attending one of the free workshops offered around the state.