Susan Fulmer, manager of the Federal Remediation Section, and Heather Cathcart, Federal Remediation Technical Coordinator, with the Bureau of Land and Waste Management, were recently awarded the Excellence in OLEM Partnerships Award from United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their participation in the Federal Facility Academy.Continue reading
South Carolina has had two forecasted Code Orange Ozone Action Days since Ground-level Ozone forecasting season began on April 1st of this year. A Code Orange Ozone Action Day means that atmospheric conditions will likely produce concentrations of ground level ozone air pollution that may be unhealthy for sensitive groups, which includes people with lung disease, older adults, and children.
Ozone typically forms with highest concentrations on warm, hot, sunny days with light wind speeds, which allows more of the pollutant to form and accumulate. Forecasting ground-level ozone concentrations is an educated prediction based on certain weather conditions and emissions. DHEC has a team of experienced meteorologists on staff that review weather and air quality information daily to produce a next-day ozone forecast, which is posted on DHEC’s own ozone website and U.S. EPA’s AIRNow website.
Knowing the Ground-level Ozone Forecast ahead of time allows you to make plans and adjust your schedule and activities for the next day. Sensitive groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, take more breaks, and do less intense activities, especially during afternoon and early evening hours when ozone concentrations are typically highest.
Knowing the Ground-level Ozone Forecastahead of time also allows you to make informed decisions that can help reduce air pollution and decrease ground-level ozone by:
- Refueling your car after 6:00 PM and don’t top off your tank
- Using electric powered lawn equipment
- Avoiding driving during peak traffic hours
- Combining trips when you drive
- Telecommuting (work from home) if possible
- Taking your lunch to work
Sign up to receive forecasts via emails, texts or tweets (customized to fit your style) using EPA’s free EnviroFlash service at www.enviroflash.info.
For additional information about ozone and air quality, click here.
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.
|September 28, 2019||9:30AM||USC Upstate Campus|
|October 5, 2019||9:30AM||USC Upstate Campus|
|October 11, 2019||9:00AM||506 South Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, SC|
|October 16, 2019||NOON||Center for Watershed Excellence|
For more details about upcoming workshops and registration, visit: https://www.clemson.edu/public/water/watershed/scaas/aas-events.html. Follow SC Adopt-a-Stream on Facebook. This program is led in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and Clemson University’s Center for Watershed Excellence.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Any home can have a radon gas problem. The only way to determine if your home is trapping radon is to test.
Quick Facts about Radon
- Breathing in radon can change the cells in your lungs, which increases your chances for getting lung cancer.
- Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S.
- Smokers who are exposed to radon have a much higher risk of lung cancer.
- Elevated radon concentrations have been found across South Carolina.
- Radon levels of 70.0 pCi/L and higher have been found in South Carolina.
- Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.
- Homes can be modified to reduce radon levels.
- New homes can be built with radon-resistant features.
- South Carolina has nationally certified radon professionals who can measure radon and fix homes with elevated radon.
The South Carolina Radon Program provides radon test kits to homeowners free of charge. Request your free home test kit at www.scdhec.gov/radon.
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. Traditionally, “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.