DHEC Environmental eNews
February 2022 | View as Webpage
DHEC continues to work with federal, state, and local partners as it responds to COVID-19 in South Carolina. As we remain committed to protecting the safety and health of the public during this ongoing pandemic, DHEC's Environmental Affairs staff is also focused on keeping our customers and stakeholders informed of important events, regulations, meetings, permitting information, and compliance information.
COVID-19 Testing Update

With the accuracy, convenience, and widespread availability of rapid at-home tests, and a significant decrease in demand for drive-through PCR testing, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has announced a shift in its COVID-19 testing strategy toward at-home rapid antigen tests across South Carolina beginning March 1.

A prime driver of these changes is that with increased availability of rapid antigen testing, it is now the most effective testing tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help people make informed decisions about whether to isolate

DHEC’s primary role with COVID-19, as with all other disease outbreaks, is to protect public health by providing accurate information and ensuring access to resources including testing and treatment which reduce the impact of disease on all South Carolinians.  
DHEC Announces Grant Projects to Improve Water Quality

DHEC receives an annual grant allocation from EPA under the Clean Water Act Section 319(h). Grants are awarded for water quality restoration and protection efforts to prevent and control nonpoint source pollution in South Carolina waters. Grant projects must implement an approved watershed-based plan and should lead to significant, measurable water quality improvements. We are now accepting proposals for water quality improvement projects that will implement a watershed-based plan. Eligible applicants include state agencies, local governments, public universities, soil and water conservation districts, regional planning commissions, watershed organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Projects are selected for funding through a two-phase proposal and review process. Initial proposals are due March 25, 2022. More information can be found on the Section 319 Grant web page. 
New DHEC Board Chair Announced
DHEC recently welcomed its newest Board member and Chair, Columbia attorney Robert Bolchoz.

Bolchoz has practiced law for over 30 years, with stints in public service, private practice and corporate law. He has represented presidential candidates, statewide elected officials, major corporations, corporate executives, public agencies, political parties and individuals.

Bolchoz opened his law practice in Columbia in 2010. He is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. His wife, Cheryl, holds a master’s degree in biostatistics from the University of South Carolina, and the couple have two sons, two daughters and two grandsons. Both Charleston natives, Robert and Cheryl have called Columbia home since 1996.

Bolchoz' term will run from June 30, 2021 - June 30, 2025.
Greenville Environmental Affairs Office is Moving!

After 56 years, the Environmental Affairs Greenville Office is relocating!  

Even as we transition to a new office, there will be no disruption in services. Expect the same great customer service!

Our phone number will continue to work during the move: (864) 372-3273.
Environmental Affairs in Action

- DHEC's Environmental Affairs continues to provide COVID assistance to businesses across the state and recently presented at the Oconee Economic Alliance on February 18, 2022. 

- The SC Manufacturers' Alliance hosted their Annual Environmental Conference on February 8-9, 2022. Updates were provided by DHEC Director Ed Simmer, Myra Reece, Bureau leadership and Environmental Justice and Community Engagement staff.
DHEC Awards Community Star Award to Queen Quet, Gullah/Geechee Nation Chieftess
DHEC’s Office of Environmental Affairs has announced the latest winner of its Community Star award for collaborative partnerships. 

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation was presented with the Community Star award for her leadership, service and dedication to improving her community and protecting the environment of St. Helena Island, the Gullah/Geechee Nation, and South Carolina. Queen Quet is a longtime DHEC partner and advocate for environmental justice, environmental education and community resiliency from the local to international level. 

“Strong relationships and trust among federal, state, local and community leaders can be transformational,” said Myra Reece, director of DHEC Environmental Affairs. “We are a better agency capable of making better decisions because of relationships with partners like Queen Quet.” 

Queen Quet was recognized during a ceremony held at the St. Helena Branch Library in Beaufort on Tuesday, Feb. 22. During the presentation, Reece was joined by Daniel Blackman, EPA Region 4 administrator, and members of DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Community Engagement Team.

For more information about DHEC’s Community Star program and to learn how to nominate a business, group or individual, click here.

Regulatory Updates
As we work to continuously improve our regulations, please note the following have been approved by the S.C. Board of Health and Environmental Control. These are currently at the South Carolina General Assembly working through the legislative review process.

Join Our Team!
As the state agency charged with promoting and protecting South Carolina's public health and environment, DHEC has a legacy of attracting and retaining talented individuals who want to build rewarding and successful careers. DHEC's Environmental Affairs employs a wide range of environmental professionals from engineers and geologists to inspectors and meteorologists.
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