Tag Archives: water

DHEC in the News: Mount Pleasant Water, Prescription Fraud, Rising Seas

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

A cancer cluster caused by pesticides in South Carolina would be hard to prove. Here’s why.

Cancer clusters are rare and difficult to prove, and pesticides are unlikely to be the cause of several recent cases of brain tumors in Mount Pleasant, a national water quality expert said.

Erik Olson, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s health program, said the system Mount Pleasant Waterworks uses — reverse osmosis — is an excellent technology that will “remove basically anything, including pesticides.”

“If they’ve had reverse osmosis for a long time, that would suggest it’s probably not pesticides,” Olson said.

Mount Pleasant has used the technology since 1991.

Warrants: Former Wellford police chief charged in prescription fraud

WELLFORD, SC (FOX Carolina) – The former police chief of Wellford is facing 10 charges connected to the filling of unauthorized prescriptions.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed 48-year-old Timothy Alexander was arrested on five counts of MDP other in Schedule I, II or III controlled substance and five counts of violation of drug distribution laws.

According to the arrest warrants, Alexander is accused of conspiring with a woman to obtain unauthorized Percocet prescriptions from pharmacies in Woodruff and Spartanburg.

General Interest

New study pinpoints sea rise hot spots, with Edisto and Kiawah islands caught in the crosshairs

In just 18 years — less than the life of some mortgages — rising seas will cause disruptive flooding in about 170 coastal communities across the United States, including Edisto and Kiawah islands, a new analysis says.

Prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, the report is said to be the first nationwide attempt to identify tipping points — times and places where flooding is so frequent that residents abandon their land or pump big bucks into projects to hold back the ocean.

No stranger to high water, Charleston already sees regular “nuisance floods” at seasonal high tides, though the problem has grown worse in recent years. Charleston averaged four days of tidal flooding 50 years ago. Last year, the city had a record 50 flooding days, many when the sun shined.

Even so, the city has yet to reach a “chronic inundation” threshold — when 10 percent or more of its usable, non-wetland area floods at least 26 times per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists report.

That will change within a couple of generations.

Handwashing: The ‘do-it-yourself vaccine’

With all the visiting that occurs during the holiday season, germs can quickly and easily pass from person to person. When it comes to protecting yourself and others and putting a stop to the spread of germs, don’t underestimate the power of handwashing.

On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to handwashing as a “do-it-yourself vaccine.” Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and keep from spreading germs to others.

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean your hands.

So, when should you wash your hands? Here’s what the CDC says:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on handwashing. Also, view the video below for instructions on how to effectively wash your hands.

A Few Things You Should Know About Boiling Water

With many areas throughout the state currently under boil water advisories, here are some tips to keep your water safe.

Boiling Water for Drinking

  • Fill a pot with water.
  • Heat the water until bubbles come from the bottom of the pot to the top.
  • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat source and let the water cool.
  • Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on boil water emergencies and to get updates on boil water advisories as well as emergency guidelines for businesses. You can also find information on food and water safety on the agency website.

Private Wells

If you have a private well that was flooded (water entered the well from the surface of the ground) during the flooding and rain from Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina, your well water could be contaminated. To ensure your private well water is safe to drink, you can have it tested for coliform bacteria.

DHEC is waiving testing fees for private wells. This only applies to wells in counties impacted by flooding and only for bacteriological testing. Residents with questions about private wells should call (803) 898-4312.

You must disinfect before you collect a sample. Disinfect your well and wait seven to 10 days before you collect a sample. Disinfection instructions can be found on our website at Emergency Well Disinfection. Sampling kits for private wells can be obtained from over 60 DHEC locations across the state and local Health Departments. Visit DHEC Locations to find contact information.

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/