Tag Archives: Spare the Air Awards

DHEC in the News: Eclipse, groin permit, Spare the Air & more

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

South Carolina emergency officials prep for eclipse, urge drivers to keep moving or stay off roads

COLUMBIA — If you think you’ve seen bad rubbernecking after a car accident on South Carolina roads before, just wait until a good chunk of the state goes dark in the middle of the afternoon.

With a total solar eclipse set to pass directly over the Palmetto State in a matter of weeks, top emergency officials from several state agencies are warning residents and visitors to exercise caution if they travel that day — and, if possible, to avoid the roads altogether.

Environment: Judge chides county inaction in denial of groin permit

An Administrative Law Court judge this week denied a permit for Georgetown County to build a rock and concrete groin in front of the public parking lot on the south end of Pawleys Island. The ruling came 1,363 days after a hearing on the permit and nearly five years after the permit was challenged by conservation groups.

Spare the Air awards winners

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is proud to announce the 2017 Spare the Air Awards Winners – Clemson University Parking and Transportation Services and The COMET.

These winners are being recognized for their voluntary efforts to improve air quality in South Carolina. Clemson University’s efforts are sustainable, replicable, and encourage positive behavioral changes that improve air quality. These efforts also build and strengthen partnerships that will continue to improve air quality in South Carolina.

Carolina Water Service faces legal challenge from river outfitters

COLUMBIA, SC Outfitters who make a living on the lower Saluda River are suing Carolina Water Service for discharging sewage into the scenic waterway from two treatment plants.

The state lawsuit, filed Thursday by some of the area’s most visible outdoors companies, says improperly treated wastewater from the private utility has kept them from running guided tours, renting equipment and spending time on the river between the Lake Murray dam and downtown Columbia.

West Columbia Isn’t Listening Over the Sound of Demolition, Residents Say

A backhoe smashed to splinters half of a more than 100-year-old house in West Columbia’s Mill Hill neighborhood. The red tin roof lays on the ground. But to some residents, it’s not the machine that destroyed the structure, but the West Columbia government.

This week at DHEC

DHEC continues to spread the message about radon and free test kits. Richelle Tolton, DHEC’s Radon Coordinator, spoke with South Carolina Public Radio about how to look out for this silent killer.

Neal Martin, with our Division of Injury and Violence Prevention, shared our message about another silent killer, carbon monoxide. He shared prevention tips with WOLO and The Aiken Standard.

Spare the Air Awards

Do you know someone who has voluntarily helped to improve air quality in South Carolina? Encourage them to apply for the Spare the Air Awards for a chance to be recognized by the state! Entries are due by February 1, 2017. Click here to learn more about the award, past winners, and to get information on how to enter.

Employee Spotlight

Congratulations to Stacie Walling, who is the new Operations Director in the Lowcountry. 

DHEC Now Accepting Nominations for “Spare the Air” Awards

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of Air Quality is accepting nominations for its 2017 “Spare the Air” Awards.  Any project that can demonstrate reductions in air pollution in any part of the State during 2016 is eligible.

The “Spare the Air” Awards are presented to environmental stewards that have made a voluntary commitment to promote and practice initiatives that improve air quality in South Carolina.

“Through partnerships and collaborative efforts of individuals, organizations and local governments, excellent work is being done voluntarily to reduce air pollution and conserve energy in South Carolina,” said Rhonda Thompson, chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality. “Air quality has gained a great deal of attention in recent years and people are recognizing the importance of protecting and improving our air quality.”

Thompson said the awards show appreciation to those who go the extra mile to help protect our environment.

The goals of the awards program are to

  • Promote a healthier environment through air quality initiatives that are sustainable and replicable;
  • Educate, build awareness and motivate others to make better decisions about the environment through air quality improvements;
  • Encourage positive behavioral changes that improve air quality;
  • Strengthen and build partnerships with businesses, organizations and the citizens of South Carolina to improve air quality.

Award categories include:

  • Outstanding Business/Industry
  • Outstanding Employee(s)
  • Outstanding Local Government
  • Outstanding School or District
  • Outstanding College or University
  • Outstanding Community Campaign


Nominations must be received by February 1, 2017 for 2016 projects. For more information, the award nomination application, and past winners, go to: www.scdhec.gov/sparetheairawards.

D. W. Daniel High School Wins 2016 Spare the Air Award

By Nelson Roberts, DHEC Air Quality Program Manager

Congratulations to D. W. Daniel High School’s environmental science class on receiving the 2016 Spare the Air Outstanding School Award! The school was recognized by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control during Air Quality Awareness Week 2016 for its leadership and initiatives to protect the air and environment.

Students enrolled in D.W. Daniel High’s advanced placement environmental science class led an event named “Inflation Station” in March 2015. The program aimed to increase student awareness of the environmental benefits of proper car maintenance and provide a service to the Pickens County community.

The goal of the inflation station was two-fold. One, students were made aware of the benefits of proper tire inflation and how mileage improvements directly help the environment. Specifically, increased miles per gallon reduce direct source car emissions because less fuel is consumed in daily commutes. Reductions in nitrogen oxides, greenhouse gases, respiratory irritants, ground level ozone precursors, and particulates were all realized with simple attention to tire pressure. In addition, drivers were taught how easy checking tire inflation truly can be.

In addition to the Inflation Station, students participated in data collection for the school’s participation in the Breathe Better program. Students monitored idling cars and buses after school, and information highlighting the positive aspects of a no-idle policy was given to the vehicle drivers. “No idling zone” signs were also displayed to improve air quality as students waited for pickup.

Student-leaders took on all aspects of the project including: proposing and planning the project, meeting with Principal Josh Young  to ask for permission, providing all the promotional information for the community, gathering all the inflation supplies (compressors, gauges, portable generators), organizing the traffic lanes and supplying the labor for tire inflation.

Prior to the event, students created announcements highlighting the importance of proper tire inflation and promoted the day and time of the event via Website and daily announcements. Students were directed to the station on their way out of the parking lot where the environmental science students checked the tire pressure and then inflated the tires to the manufacturer’s prescribed pressure as needed.

The school hopes the Inflation Station will continue yearly as a public service for the D.W. Daniel High community. Promoting a large scale event gives students a real-world example of planning, approval protocols at a school, communication skills, teamwork and delegation of duties. Students then have the confidence to try new ideas and serve others in the community.

Congratulations, D. W. Daniel High School, and thank you for all you do to improve air quality in South Carolina!

Update (Deadline Extended): DHEC accepting nominations for Spare the Air Awards

By Cassandra Harris
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Calling all innovators, environmental stewards, and trailblazers, DHEC is currently accepting nominations for the Spare the Air Awards.

If you’re an SC business, school, local government agency, organization, or individual that has successfully promoted positive environmental change, we want to hear from you!

The nomination deadline for the Spare the Air Awards has been extended to April 20, 2015.

For more information and to access the award nomination form, click here.​​