Tag Archives: water quality

DHEC in the News: West Nile Virus, Infant Sleep Safety, Mt. Pleasant Water, Assisted Living Facility

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

Hurricane Matthew continues to leave its mark on Beaufort County with West Nile cases

(Beaufort, SC – Island Packet) Just two human cases of the West Nile virus have ever been confirmed in Beaufort County — both within eight months of Hurricane Matthew.

Gregg Hunt, Beaufort County Mosquito Control director, said the timing of the events is no coincidence.

“Hurricane Matthew has played a major role in what we’re seeing,” Hunt said.

“After Hurricane Matthew, a lot of debris had fallen into standing water caused by the flooding and tidal waves,” he said. “And organic material decaying in the water produces an ideal breeding ground for that kind of mosquito (that carries West Nile) … That’s what set the tone after the hurricane.”

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According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, about 1 in 5 people who are infected with the West Nile virus will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. These people likely will have a full recovery, but fatigue and weakness could last for weeks or months.

Less than 1 percent of those infected will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to the release.

Mom’s heartbreaking Facebook post raises awareness about safe sleeping conditions for babies

(Greenville, SC – FOX Carolina) According to DHEC, 194 babies died between 2009 and 2015 in South Carolina due of unsafe sleeping conditions, making this the third leading cause of infant deaths in the state.

“This cause of death is 100 percent preventable,” said Michelle Greco, manager of the Child Abuse Prevention Program at Greenville Health System.

Greco says babies under 1 year of age should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a fitted sheet and a firm mattress.

“Anytime that an infant under the first year of life is put down to sleep it needs to be treated the same,” said Greco, “They need to be alone with no other people, pets or objects.”

Mt. Pleasant residents ‘trying to have faith’ as they wait on results of DHEC water tests

(Mt. Pleasant, SC – ABC News4)  Several people living in Mount Pleasant want answers to concerns over water quality, and DHEC is now doing something about it.

Tuesday, workers were in Mount Pleasant testing water samples. It’s all part of an effort to find out if there is something in the water that could pose a health hazard.

DHEC samples were taken from three houses in the Mount Pleasant area. Officials with Mount Pleasant Waterworks said they chose those areas because of recent concerns.

Charleston assisted living facility where woman was killed by nearby alligator could face enforcement from DHEC

(Charleston, SC – Post and Courier) …Department of Health and Environmental Control investigators found [Brookdale Charleston] staff did not follow their own guidelines to conduct night checks on [Bonnie] Walker, a plan put in place when she had wandered off before. She had left the facility days prior “looking to go home,” and staff decided she needed to be housed in a memory care unit.

Now Brookdale Charleston could be facing enforcement action from DHEC. Representatives of the facility met with state officials June 13. A spokesman for DHEC said the two parties are “working on finalizing a consent order.” Brookdale declined to comment on the matter.

Such meetings are an opportunity for a facility to present any evidence of their own, said Pam Dukes, formerly a health regulator with DHEC. It would be “very unusual” for the negotiation not to end in enforcement, Dukes explained, which could mean a fine or a license suspension.

For more health and environmental news, check Live Healthy SC regularly.

DHEC in the News: Opioid Crisis, Narcan, Mt. Pleasant Water

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

Legislators to hold public hearing on opioid crisis

(Greenville, SC – Greenville News) – State legislators will hold a public hearing in Greenville this week to hear from those who have been personally impacted by opioid abuse and addiction.

Overdoses from opioids, which includes heroin, have quadrupled in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 594 opioid-related overdose deaths in South Carolina in 2015, up 12 percent from 2014.

Overdoses involving heroin increased by 57 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to DHEC.

The cost of a drug used to treat opioid overdoses is rising

DHEC to test Mount Pleasant water for pesticides Tuesday

(Mt. Pleasant, SC – ABCNews4) Officials with Mount Pleasant Waterworks want to put minds at ease about possible pesticides in the tap water. Joined by experts at Charleston Water System, they held a public forum Monday afternoon.

“We don’t believe there’s a problem,” said Clay Duffie, general manager of MPW. “We want you to believe there’s not a problem with your water.”

Duffie said DHEC testing will begin Tuesday, focusing on three neighborhoods, Dunes West, Park West and Rivertown. He said due to demand and concern, DHEC officials contributed extra money to expedite the results, which should take about five business days.

Check our blog regularly for more health and environmental news.

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.

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.