Tag Archives: pollution

DHEC in the News: Safe sleep, protecting water, workplace noise and high blood pressure

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

Health in Brief: DHEC encourages parents to practice ‘safe sleep’ habits with babies

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control recently published a press release reminding parents to practice safe sleep habits with infants. The agency reported that six infants in South Carolina die each month due to sleep-related deaths.

Study aims to protect water at the source

The clean air and water, mountain views and scenic rivers that attract so many people to the Upstate is the driving force behind a watershed plan being developed for the 220,000-acre Tyger River Watershed Basin.

Keeping it beautiful and clean for future generations is the goal of Upstate Forever, a Greenville-based land conservation organization that is parlaying a $40,000 federal grant into a plan to identify sources of water pollution as well as areas deemed “critical” for protection or restoration.

General Interest

CDC: Workplace noise linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol

High blood pressure and high cholesterol — two risk factors for heart disease — are more common among workers exposed to loud noise in their workplaces, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Ozone Forecasting Season is Upon Us

Spring is here and that means the return of the ozone forecasting season (April 1 through Sept. 30). As we drive in our vehicles, the exhaust contributes to ground-level ozone in our atmosphere. Under certain conditions, ozone levels can be high enough that an Ozone Action Day, or “orange day” alert is issued. High levels can adversely impact people who are sensitive to ozone pollution, especially children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems.

You can check the daily ozone forecast during the season in one of two ways:

1)  Visit www.scdhec.gov/apps/environment/ozoneforecast/.

2)  Sign up to receive the ozone forecast at www.enviroflash.info.

In the event an Ozone Action Day is issued, there are some things you can do to help curb ozone pollution:

1)  If you live close enough, consider walking or biking to work or to run errands.

2)  Consider carpooling with people who live in your neighborhood and work close to you. To find a carpool, try www.erideshare.com.

3)  If your neighborhood is served by public transportation, take the bus.

4)  Telecommute from home or satellite office (if applicable to your work schedule).

If we all do our part to reduce the effects of ozone pollution, we can improve our air quality here in South Carolina!

Only Rain Should Go Down a Stormdrain

By Carol Roberts, DHEC Watershed Manager

Did you know that stormwater drains flow directly to our rivers, lakes, streams and ocean with little or no treatment? You might assume that any trash, pollutants or debris that washes into a storm drain gets sent to a water treatment plant and cleaned up, but it all goes right into water bodies where people swim, fish and recreate.

That’s why keeping storm drains pollution free is an important part of keeping our communities clean and healthy.

What is stormwater?

Stormwater runoff occurs when rain flows over the ground and flows into storm drains or nearby creeks, rivers and ponds. In natural, grassy areas, rain can usually soak into the ground and eventually back into the water table underground. This provides a natural filtering process. But if rain falls in heavy amounts or over impervious surfaces ( or surfaces water can’t get through, such as driveways, concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets) the rain is not able to  soak into the ground and creates stormwater runoff.

Reducing stormwater pollution

Stormwater picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other materials as it flows into our waterways. Common pollutants include trash, sediment, leaves, grass clippings, fertilizer, pesticides, animal waste (bacteria), residue from chemical spills or container overflows, vehicle drips and leaks, and detergents.

ARC-Stormwater-v1.png

Credit: Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, Atlanta, Georgia

Everyone can help prevent stormwater pollution. Here are some easy tips you can follow:

Pet Care

Pet waste contains harmful bacteria that can wash into recreational waters. Always pick up after your pet and dispose of pet waste in a trash can.

Never throw dog or cat feces or cat litter down a storm drain and never flush cat litter.

Litter Disposal

Litter that is thrown on the ground or out of a car window ends up in our water. Make sure to always dispose of trash in a trashcan or recycle it.

Auto Care

Never dump automotive fluids down a storm drain – it is the same as dumping them directly into your favorite swimming or fishing spot.

Repair leaks that can leave chemicals on driveways and streets, and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.

Use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on your lawn/yard so the water infiltrates into the ground.

Lawn / Property Care

Sweep yard debris and trash out of the street so it doesn’t get washed into storm drains.

Reduce impermeable surfaces by using pavers or gravel on sidewalks and driveways that rain water can soak through into the ground.

Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly so they don’t wash into local streams – potentially harming wildlife and people. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.

For more information on stormwater, visit www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Water/Stormwater/

New Funding To Support Ongoing Cleanup of SC Brownfields

Pictured above: Former Bell Buoy Seafood Plant is now Bay Creek Park in the Town of Edisto Beach. 

By Bryony Wardell

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the award of $300,000 in supplemental funding to the South Carolina Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to help transform communities in South Carolina by cleaning up contaminated Brownfields properties.  A Brownfield is a property on which expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence, or perceived presence, of contamination.

“These funds – granted to communities who have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop Brownfields – will help boost local economies, create local jobs and protect people from harmful pollution by expediting Brownfield projects,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The RLF supplemental recipients are some of the nation’s top performers. The RLF funding announced today will help sustain that incredible progress.”

The purpose of the RLF is to provide financial incentives in the form of below-market interest rates and limited debt forgiveness to help local governments, non-profits, and businesses undertake the cleanup of contamination from Brownfields across the state.

Kitson Mill Before July 2011

Before: Kitson Mill Brownfield site in 2011, one of the beneficiaries of South Carolina’s RLF program.

Kitson Mill After Feb 2013

After: Kitson Mill in February 2013 after the property was recovered and ready for redevelopment.

Through these grants, EPA seeks to strengthen the marketplace and encourage stakeholders to leverage the resources needed to clean up and redevelop Brownfields.  When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.

“South Carolina Brownfield RLF is one of the most successful RLF financing programs in the Southeast, providing remediation for 11 Brownfield properties across the state so far,” said DHEC Bureau of Land and Waste Management Director Daphne Neel. “A reinvestment in South Carolina communities, the EPA’s support will go a long way towards helping us continue to reclaim and redevelop our state’s existing Brownfields.”

South Carolina’s Brownfield RLF program has loaned more than $7.5 million to date to enable the cleanup of sites such as large textile mills, landfills, scrap metal yards and contaminated industrial and commercial property.  On these sites, new uses are emerging such as medical clinics, recreational parks, and shovel-ready, large-scale commercial and industrial sites in highly desirable growth areas.

To learn more about the Brownfields RLF, please visit our website or contact Robert Hodges at (803) 898-0919 or hodgesrf@dhec.sc.gov.

Former Bush Recycling site before reclamation.

Before: Former Bush’s Recycling site before reclamation.

hope health bush recylcing after

After: The former Bush’s Recycling Brownfield is now the new site for HopeHealth in Florence, SC.

Brownfields presentation cover

Click here to see a presentation on SC Brownfields recovery success stories.