Tag Archives: floods

DHEC in the News: Free colon cancer screenings, Charleston floodwaters, bird rookery study

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

South Carolina program provides free colon cancer screenings for uninsured

One group is trying to prevent deaths in South Carolina from the second leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the nation.

The Center for Colon Cancer Research (CCCR) at the University of South Carolina offers free screenings for those who are uninsured and medically uninsured, and Tracie Lewis said it helps save lives.

“Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable diseases through early detection,” said Lewis, CCCR community outreach director. “We know through screening we can detect and prevent colorectal cancer or diagnosis it early.”

Filthy Floods – Charleston floodwaters are crawling with unsafe levels of poop bacteria

Many downtown Charleston streets become filthy Petri-dishes of bacteria in flooding rains, with fecal levels dozens of times above safe limits, according to a Post and Courier analysis and research by College of Charleston.

During the drenching rainstorm June 8, the newspaper sampled eight streets on peninsular Charleston for fecal coliforms, a common measure of human and animal waste. Targeted areas included streets near schools, stores and hospitals.

Analyzed immediately by Trident Labs in Ladson, a certified lab, these samples showed dangerously high levels of fecal bacteria on Charleston’s East Side.

General Interest
Charleston Harbor bird rookery to be studied for silting Shem Creek

The shifting sands of Crab Bank won’t stand still, and neither will the town of Mount Pleasant.

The town will commit as much as $100,000 to study whether the renourishment sand that washes from the shore bird rookery in Charleston Harbor would block the mouth of nearby Shem Creek — the town’s valuable commercial fishing hub, tourist destination and restaurant row.

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids, coastal floods

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

Has the flu loosened its grip in SC? Here’s what the numbers say

It seems the worst has finally passed in regard to flu activity in South Carolina.

Widespread in the Palmetto State for the past 10 weeks, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials now believe the illness is present only on a regional basis.

Opioid prescribing limits to be imposed in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The South Carolina Medicaid Agency and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will limit how many opioids doctors can prescribe to patients in some cases.

This comes after Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order in December establishing an emergency response team to battle the opioid crisis in South Carolina.

General Interest

Coastal floods to be nearly as common as high tides in South Carolina within 80 years, NOAA says

Tidal flooding is accelerating along the South Carolina coast, including at Charleston, federal researchers say. The coast might flood nearly every day by the turn of the century almost 80 years from now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report is the latest in a series of alerts which forecast worsening conditions for South Carolina and the East Coast as seas and storm-surge rise.

Dams After The Flood: Regulations, Responsibilities and Recovery

By Bryony Wardell

On March 12, 2016, more than 100 South Carolina dam owners passed up a sunshine-filled day to get together with safety and regulation experts to talk about dams after the flood. Dams After The Flood: Regulations, Responsibilities and Recovery was a community event hosted by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and its partners to help connect dam owners to information and people who can help them move towards recovery.

As the state’s regulatory agency, DHEC’s role is to provide input and assistance to dam owners and operators and to advise them on regulatory compliance. Dam owners are responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of their dams. The agency doesn’t provide engineering services, but it does provide compliance assistance.

Since the historic flooding of October 2015, many dam owners in South Carolina have been facing unique and lasting challenges. For many, the challenges have been overwhelming – for some, the first time they were even aware they owned a dam was after it was impacted.


A DHEC staff member helps attendees locate their dam on the new Watershed Atlas.

Network of Knowledge

The event was an important step towards recovery and building capacity for community resilience for future natural disasters. It introduced dam owners to information and people – including each other – who can help create a network of knowledge.


DHEC Environmental Affairs Director Myra Reece talking with dam owners.

“Response is one thing, but recovery is by far the hardest and longest phase of a disaster. Let’s figure this out together,” said DHEC Director of Environmental Affairs Myra Reece. “This is a kick-off and it’s the start of a collaborative coalition of dam owners, dam safety experts, engineers and other partners who can work together to form pathways to solutions.”

The event included presentations from DHEC’s dam program staff on regulations, safety, inspections, maintenance and damage recovery. Click here to download the presentation. It also included a Q&A session, information booths and one-on-one networking for dam owners with a variety of event partner organizations.

Event partners included
: American Rivers, Association of State Dam Safety Officials, Gills Creek Watershed Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, S.C. Department of Transportation, S.C. Emergency Management Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as consultants and contractors.

Overcoming the Overwhelming

“This needed to be done. It was very helpful. It put people’s minds at ease a bit to know that DHEC is here to listen, to hear our questions, our frustrations, to talk and to work together,” said Donnie Hallman, a dam owner from Gilbert. “It gives us a way to share information and it takes the fear factor out of the situation.”

Event organizers kept the formal presentations brief to allow attendees ample time to visit information booths, ask questions about their unique situations and meet neighbors who own dams up- or downstream in their watershed. Color-coded name badges were provided to help attendees identify fellow dam owners in their watershed and start their own local networks.

registration table.jpg

“We want to make sure people have the information and time they need to make important decisions about their dams,” said John Litton, DHEC Dam Program director. “We are going to work with you on the unique problems you each are facing.”

For more information about the event, contact Shelly Wilson at Wilsonmd@dhec.sc.gov or (803) 898-3138 or visit www.scdhec.gov/environment/WaterQuality/DamsReservoirs.

Avoiding Mosquitoes After a Flood

By Jim Beasley

Recent rains and flooding left many areas of South Carolina saturated with standing water, which has the potential to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are cold-blooded and do not thrive in cooler temperatures, so cold snaps in the weather can help reduce the likelihood of excessive mosquito breeding.  But don’t just count on the weather. You can do your part to reduce mosquito populations and reduce your family’s exposure to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.

Do your part – reduce mosquito breeding habitats.

It only takes as few as five days for water in containers as small as a bottle cap to become active breeding sites for mosquitoes.

  • Routinely empty any containers on your property that are holding water:
    • Pool covers
    • Flower pots
    • Boat coverscleaning-gutters
    • Tires
    • Pet bowls
    • Toys
    • Tarps
    • Etc.
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Trim back thick shrubbery and overgrown grass on your property.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets.

Protect you and your family from mosquitoes and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • applying-bug-sprayRepair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.

If you choose to wear insect repellent, the EPA has a web-based tool to help you find the proper insect repellent for your time spent outdoors.
Visit www2.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-insect-repellent-right-you.

If you have mosquito problems in your area, please visit DHEC’s mosquito information page and click on “Local Mosquito Control” for a list of local mosquito control agency contacts.

Download our helpful information sheet on protecting your home against mosquitoes.  English Spanish

Download our helpful information sheet on protecting your home against mosquitoes.