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DHEC Continues Pre-storm Efforts to Help Protect People, Environment from Hurricane Ian Impacts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sept. 29, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. ― The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is closely monitoring Hurricane Ian and preparing for its potential impact on South Carolina today and through the weekend. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) is the state’s lead agency during a hurricane response, and DHEC has been staying in daily coordination with SCEMD, the Governor’s Office, and other state offices. 

“Regardless of whether Ian enters South Carolina as a hurricane or tropical storm, it could have a powerful impact on our state,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “DHEC has been taking the necessary steps to help limit the extent of those impacts and to protect the health and environment of South Carolina before, during and after the storm.” 

On Monday, DHEC began contacting the owners of all regulated dams and reservoirs in the state, advising them to take measures to ready their dam for potential heavy rainfall. DHEC used its emergency notification system to alert regulated dam and reservoir owners by phone call, text message and email and can use the emergency notification system again if they need to be made aware of additional information.

The agency also has issued communications to all licensed healthcare facilities asking that they review their emergency operations and evacuation plans, although no evacuations are being planned for at this time, and DHEC has been in contact with public drinking water and wastewater facilities around the state, reminding them to provide updates of their operational status and offering DHEC assistance if needed.

At sunset today, DHEC is closing all shellfish harvesting beds statewide due to forecasted rainfall estimates. Harvesting areas will be reopened once water-quality monitoring indicate bacteria levels are suitable for shellfish harvesting.

Earlier today, DHEC announced its Care Line ― 1-855-4SC-DHEC (472-3432) ― is operating extended hours to 24-hours-a-day to help answer residents’ questions about health department services interrupted due to Hurricane Ian and general questions about Medical Needs Shelters.

If needed, DHEC is prepared to perform post-storm dam inspections, deploy mobile teams to severely impacted areas of the state, conduct post-storm aerial coastal assessments, issue authorizations for sand scraping or minor renourishment along beaches, and assist with solid- and hazardous-waste disposal and debris disposal at landfills, among other key actions. Learn more about DHEC’s roles with disaster preparedness and severe weather recovery at scdhec.gov.

Forecast updates and additional resources are available by visiting SCEMD’s website at scemd.org. DHEC’s website, scdhec.gov, will be updated to provide important information, which will also be shared on the agency’s social media channels, Twitter (www.twitter.com/scdhec) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/scdhec).

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