Tag Archives: water quality

DHEC in the News: swimming advisory lifted, Duke Endowment grant, Shem Creek, 111 candles

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

A swimming advisory for a portion of Surfside Beach has been lifted. For access to advisories, tide tables, forecasts and more, visit the coastal resources hub on our website.

RMC Vice President of Strategy & Compliance Brenda Williams led the creation of the Tri-County Health Network as a nonprofit organization in 2012 and currently serves as chair of the network.

“Receiving a grant from The Duke Endowment is a great acknowledgment of the work the Tri-County Health Network is doing in our communities,” Williams said.

“Since its creation, the network has made a significant impact on health in Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties by implementing a variety of programs, including community gardens, faith-based health programs, area health summits and chronic disease forums,” she said. “This funding will allow the network to have an even greater reach.”

  • Two areas of Shem Creek have still not been cleared for swimming:

The good news is that three areas previously flagged on Shem Creek for high levels of bacteria have been cleared for swimming after a Wednesday water quality test by the Charleston Waterkeeper.

Unfortunately, two of several areas on the report remain “in the red.”

Exposure to water is still discouraged at Brittlebank Park and James Island Creek (test site 2).

  • While DHEC doesn’t keep track of how many South Carolinians are over 100, we wish a happy birthday to Laura Wright, who celebrated her 111th birthday this week:

Laura Wright’s devotion to solving crossword puzzles was put on hold Thursday as family and friends celebrated her 111th birthday.

The retired teacher attributes her longevity to “the hands of the Lord.”

No one knows if she is the oldest person living in South Carolina, although amateur genealogists consulted by her relatives say she is in the running for that title.

For more news from DHEC, visit Live Healthy SC.

DHEC in the News: groundwater meeting, no-swimming advisory, West Columbia treatment underway

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around the state:

  • A public meeting was held Wednesday in Aiken County to discuss groundwater usage in the western counties of South Carolina:

The purpose of Wednesday’s meeting was to discuss a state plan to — for the first time — oversee groundwater withdrawals in a seven-county area, including Aiken, Lexington and Orangeburg.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has proposed requiring anyone wanting to take large amounts of groundwater to receive state permits, as is already done along South Carolina’s coast. The agency plans a series of meetings, including one in Lexington, to gain public input before asking the department’s board to designate the seven counties as an area requiring regulation. The agency plans to take the matter to the board in October.

Sean Torrens with DHEC’s Pee Dee Environmental Affairs office says the area affected is 16th Avenue North.  According to Torrens, temporary advisory signs were placed at the location.

“Routine sampling yielded a 645 CFU/100 ml at WAC-030,” according to the release.

DHEC’s website clarifies that swimming is not advised if the bacteria measurement is greater than 104.  The sample collected Tuesday was more than six times higher than that threshold.

  • West Columbia officials are working to  resolve a sewage spill in a neighborhood pond:

The incident happened in a pond in the Quail Hollow neighborhood, and homeowners are concerned. The spill occurred in a manhole on June 2 and was reported by the Congaree River Keeper. By the morning of June 3, crews worked to clean the spill.

On June 4, crews went back to the pond to ensure the spill was cleaned correctly and noticed sewage. The city reported the issue to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or SCDHEC.

Anna Huffman with the City of West Columbia said that the city is working to resolve the issue and are following the “proper protocols and procedures as advised by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.”

SCDHEC tested the water on Tuesday and reported that the bacteria in the water was at 82.3. SCDHEC only restricts swimming at a level of 359 or higher.

For more news from DHEC, visit Live Healthy SC.

Public Pools Can Provide Swim Lanes to Olympic Dreams

Millions of people around the world cheered on champion swimmers at the Rio Olympics this week as they broke new records and earned gold medals. If Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps and other world-class swimmers have you inspired, you can dive into your Olympic dreams at a public pool.

Public pools are a great community resource where people of all ages can learn to swim, improve their fitness, make new friends or just cool off on a hot day. Many pools host swim lessons, coaching and swimming leagues to help everyone from beginners to competitors enjoy the water.

What you can do to swim safely

Whether you are mastering the doggy paddle or perfecting your backstroke, here’s what you can do to stay healthy and safe while you swim. Continue reading

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/