Tag Archives: EPA

DHEC, Partners Revitalize Site In Clover, SC

Henrys Knob group

PHOTO: Henry’s Knob AOC 1.  Pictured left to right: Don Siron, BLWM Assistant Bureau Chief; Sara McDonald, Project support; Joel Padgett, Project Manager; Susan Fulmer, Federal Remediation Section Manager.

DHEC‘s Bureau of Land and Waste Management (BLWM) staff joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 to celebrate the successful ecological revitalization of the Henry’s Knob Superfund Site on May 1. The EPA awarded ABB, Inc. (ABB) their Excellence in Site Reuse Award for ABB’s efforts to restore the former mine site to a natural habitat. Region 4 established the “Excellence in Site Reuse” award to recognize those who have supported the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative through outstanding efforts when redeveloping a Superfund site.

Located in Clover, SC, the Henry’s Knob site was operated as an open pit kyanite mine from 1947 through 1965. Kyanite is a mineral used in refractory, ceramic and porcelain products. Mined ore-grade rock was ground up and floated to separate kyanite from other minerals. The waste rock and tailings were dewatered in ponds and piles and left onsite. Where iron sulfide minerals in the waste are exposed to water and oxygen, acid mine drainage occurs and can impact surface water and groundwater. These acidic conditions can mobilize metals. At the Henry’s Knob site, these conditions led to over 37 acres of unvegetated soils vulnerable to erosion, acidic water in the mine pit and surface drainages, and contamination of groundwater impacting nearby private water supply wells.

In the 1990s, ABB acquired the company that operated the mine and the environmental legacy associated with the property. Through an adaptive management approach, ABB and EPA worked with former BLWM project managers Chuck Williams and Kayse Jarman and current project managers Joel Padgett and Sara MacDonald to identify a cleanup approach to stabilize the impoundment dams, mitigate on-going erosion of the mine tailings through revegetation and stormwater control, and minimize impact to groundwater and nearby surface water. Beginning with a successful pilot study in 2013 and completed in December 2017, mine tailings in four areas of concern were successfully revegetated. HenryKnob-before-afterTraditionally, “dig and haul” has been used to remove tailings from mine sites.  However, amending the soils in place leaves a lower carbon footprint and literally transformed these barren, low-pH soils into green fields. In other efforts to “green” the cleanup and provide economic benefit to the local community, ABB’s contractor locally sourced hay and organic compost to amend the soil, riprap to stabilize channels and dam faces, and native seeds to increase pollinator habitat.

This interim remedy approach has not only turned the site into an attractive ecological habitat and renewed the view for Henry’s Knob’s neighbors but also has served as an important first step in improving surface water and groundwater in the area.  BLWM will continue to partner with EPA and ABB as the project moves into the next phase of cleanup.

Beware of the hazards caused by flood waters and standing water

Although Florence has exited South Carolina, the storm dumped a large amount of rain that now has some areas of the state facing a high risk of flooding.

Flood waters are nothing to play with or to take for granted. Exercise caution.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

No matter how harmless it might appear, avoid driving, wading or walking in flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

Beware of hazards below

All too often, danger lurks within and beneath flood waters and standing water.

DHEC urges everyone not to use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines or other hazardous debris that might be under the surface.

Follow these steps if you come into contact with flood waters or standing waters:

  • Avoid or limit direct contact.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially before drinking and eating.
  • Do not allow children to play in flood water, or play with toys contaminated with flood water.
  • Report cuts or open wounds, and report all symptoms of illness. (Keep vaccinations current.)

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage on risks associated with flood waters and standing water. You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for more information on avoiding contact with flood waters.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

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 a bed bug 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.

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 to us via our online complaint form. For more information about filing a complaint about bed bugs at a regulated healthcare facility, please click here.

Even though we do 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 they need 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).

DHEC Continues Its Work To Improve Permitting Process

        The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included DHEC’s work with Boeing in its Smart            Sectors program video highlighting best practices in environmental permitting.

By Shelly Wilson
Permitting and Federal Facilities Liaison

On June 26, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlighted DHEC’s efforts to streamline the permitting process for the Boeing expansion in North Charleston as a national best practice.

EPA specifically showcased DHEC permitting for the Boeing expansion as an example of how planning, collaboration, and innovation can be good for the environment, the community, and the economy.

This recognition from the EPA affirms DHEC’s overall efforts at improving the permitting process. DHEC has been working to streamline its permitting over the past several years, and the Boeing expansion and the new Volvo plant are excellent examples of the agency’s integrated joint planning process that kept permitting schedules on target or faster.

DHEC has reduced the average time it takes to issue South Carolina permits by about 40 percent since 2007. That yields an estimated economic impact between $72 million and $103 million each year for the state and shows that protective permitting can be done quickly and fit well within the community.

The size of your project doesn’t matter

The effort to streamline the permitting process isn’t aimed at just larger companies. No matter the size of your enterprise, DHEC will work to minimize the time it takes to get the necessary permits.

Whether you’re starting the business of your dreams or are seeking to expand, you will likely have to get a permit from DHEC if that new enterprise or expansion could have an impact on the public health or the environment in South Carolina.

We know permitting can be challenging. At DHEC we are working hard to serve you, to make permitting transparent, and to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

We believe permitting should be clear, timely, and responsive. That is why we created Permit Central, launched by former Governor Nikki Haley in 2013. Permit Central is a service that helps our customers see the whole permitting picture up front, get help getting started, and jointly plan a permit target schedule.

Permit Central improving customer service

How do you engage Permit Central?  It’s really up to you. You can go through the interactive questionnaire on our website at www.scdhec.gov/PermitCentral/PermitCentral/ and it will tell you the permits that you will likely need. The website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and does not retain any of the information that you enter.

If you’d like, give me a call and we can talk through your permitting questions. I will be your tour guide through the entire permit journey. You can also contact me to set up a discussion with our Permit Central Team made up of knowledgeable DHEC representatives who can help answer your more detailed questions.

PermitCentral

When you talk with us early in your planning process we can help advise you on which permitting strategies best suit your plans. We can also give you planning times and work with you to develop a joint permit target schedule. When we have jointly developed a schedule with those seeking permits, we have been very successful in meeting that target schedule.

No matter how big or small your plans are — personal (such as homebuilding) or business — or whether you just want to know more about an upcoming local business application, don’t hesitate to contact me through Permit Central to get your questions answered.

Contact Shelly Wilson at (803) 898-3138, (803) 920-4987 or wilsonmd@dhec.sc.gov

From Other Blogs: Lightning, preventing and treating sunburn, wildlife disease surveillance & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Lightning Safety

The weather forecast calls for a slight chance of thunderstorms, but you can only see a few fluffy white clouds overhead. So you and your tennis partner grab your racquets and balls and head for the tennis court. You spend a few minutes warming up and then —wait! Is that thunder you hear? Was that a lightning flash?

What do you do? Keep playing until the thunder and lightning get closer? Go sit on the metal bench under the trees to see what happens? Or get in your car and drive home?

Correct answer: If no substantial, non-concrete shelter is nearby, get in your car and wait out the storm. — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Don’t feel the burn: Tips for preventing and treating sunburn

It’s that time of year. School is out. The lake is calling your name. The water is warm at the beach, and you want to spend as much time outside as possible. Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic, offers some advice on how to prevent sunburns while enjoying time outdoors. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Sniffing Out Disease: Dogs Trained for Wildlife Disease Surveillance

Odin is a Labrador retriever/border collie mix. By watching his wagging tail and alert expression, Colorado State University researcher Dr. Glen Golden can sense he is eager to begin his training.

Odin is one of five dogs recently adopted from shelters and animal rescue centers to become detector dogs for wildlife disease surveillance. The dogs are housed and trained at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are part of a collaborative 12-month program to evaluate the effectiveness of training and using dogs to detect and identify waterfowl feces or carcasses infected with avian influenza (AI). — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Soaking in Another Victory

It’s a four-peat.

For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Maryland, College Park has won high honors in EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national collegiate competition to design the best ideas for capturing stormwater on campus before it can harm waterways. — From the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog