Tag Archives: river

DHEC Unveils New Award at Environmental Assistance Conference

By Adrianna Bradley

On November 8, 2017, DHEC’s Office of Environmental Affairs held its annual Environmental Assistance ConferenceDHEC and Industry: Going Beyond the Fenceline Together. There were over 200 attendees and 17 vendors present. DHEC’s Environmental Affairs bureaus also set up their own tables.

Myra Reece, Director of Environmental Affairs, announced DHEC’s newest awards recognition program and presented the first Community Star Award.  Congratulations to the Lower Saluda River Coalition for winning DHEC’s FIRST Community Star Award. One of the coalition’s key objectives is to make water quality information more frequently and readily available to river users so they can make informed decisions on when to recreate in the river.

This brand-new award recognizes a business, community organization, collaborative partnership, or individual in our state that is going above and beyond environmental requirements to build better community relationships, promote environmental sustainability and resiliency, and/or improve quality of life for communities.

While this is the first award, it is not the last. The Community Star Award will be awarded annually at the Environmental Assistance Conference. Those interested can nominate themselves or others.

You can learn more about this award at www.scdhec.gov/communitystar. Also, to learn more about the Environmental Assistance Conference, you can visit www.scdhec.gov/environment/eac.

Visit this blog post for more about the work of the Lower Saluda River Coalition.

DHEC in the News: Mosquitoes after Irma, Florida nursing home tragedy, swim warnings in parts of Congaree and Saluda rivers

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

Beaufort Co agencies monitor mosquito population after Irma

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — Beaufort County Mosquito Control (BCMC) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will continue to conduct surveillance for mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases following Tropical Storm Irma.

BCMC anticipates an escalating and significant increase in the biting mosquito populations throughout the Lowcountry.

Florida tragedy highlights challenge for families seeking senior care

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Medicare records show a “below-average” rating for a Florida nursing home where an air conditioning outage led to the deaths of eight elderly clients.

The deaths are linked to heat conditions that developed at the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood, Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Hollywood police have launched a criminal investigation into the home’s operations.

A city spokeswoman says fire crews had been called to the facility 127 times over a one year period.

Warnings raised against swimming in Congaree, Saluda

COLUMBIA, SC People are being warning against swimming on parts of the Congaree and lower Saluda rivers after laboratory tests found elevated bacteria counts in the water.

Five spots on the rivers between Saluda Shoals Park and the Rosewood Drive boat landing were found to have bacteria levels above the safe swimming standard, according to a coalition of environmental groups and governments that are jointly checking water quality.

Enhanced Water Monitoring on Lower Saluda River Has Begun

A variety of stakeholders have come together to start an enhanced water quality monitoring program for the Lower Saluda Scenic River during the peak recreational season. DHEC is a key stakeholder in the group, whose goal is to encourage safe recreational use of the river.

Weekly water quality testing has begun and data will be available at LowerSaluda3howsmyscriver.org/saluda in the near future. The enhanced monitoring will provide more timely interventions as well as ultimately better protection of the river.

The Lower Saluda River Coalition is made up of river-related businesses, environmental groups, local and state government, property owners, industry and other users of the river.

One of the main purposes of the coalition is to ensure the safety of individuals recreating on the rivers and to educate the public on issues related to natural waters.

The first objective is to make water quality information more frequently and readily available to river users so they can make informed decisions on when to recreate in the river.  This is the first program of its type for inland waters. DHEC also has a robust beach monitoring program.

The enhanced monitoring program for the Lower Saluda will run from June to September this year and May through September in future years.  It involves eight monitoring locations that will be sampled weekly.  The first sampling event was June 21. Results from the sampling will be on the website soon.

Think Safety First on the Water

By Mary-Kathryn Craft

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With temperatures breaking the century mark across South Carolina this week, taking a dip in a cool lake, river, ocean or pool might be high on your list.

Before you and your family spend time in the water or on a boat this summer, put safety first. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In South Carolina, accidental drowning is the third leading cause of death for children under 14.

Water safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Always supervise children around bodies of water.
  • It’s a good idea to appoint an adult to be the “water watcher” and take turns to give children in the water your undivided attention.
  • Enroll children and adults in swimming lessons.
  • Swim only in designated areas that are watched by a lifeguard.
  • Don’t swim alone even if an area is staffed with lifeguards. Always use the buddy system.
  • Do not dive into oceans, lakes or rivers. You never know how deep the water is or what might be below the surface.

When boating, follow these guidelines:

  • Always have children wear a life jacket that is U.S. Coast Guard-approved. Don’t rely on swimming aids like water wings or noodles. Learn more about life jackets from Safe Kids Worldwide.
  • Never drink alcohol.
  • Get a free safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
  • Develop basic rules for your boat and explain to passengers. Children should know to keep hands and feet inside the vessel and not to run on the boat.

Learn more about safe swimming from the American Red Cross and the Children’s Trust of South Carolina. Find more details on boating safety and life jackets here.