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County encourages composting; bins available
July 1, 2016
Of all waste that goes into South Carolina landfills, a whopping 30 percent is comprised of yard debris and food waste.
That’s waste that could easily be diverted from landfills and turned into useful material, said James Coley, environmentalist with the Georgetown County Department of Public Services. That’s why he and the department are partnering with DHEC this summer to urge more families to start composting at home. If just 250 families in Georgetown County start actively composting, the result would be 50 tons of organic debris diverted from the county landfill each year.
“That would be a strong start and I think if you can show people how easy it is and how many benefits there are to composting, people will do it,” Coley said.
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Enter out latest photo contest
June 20, 2016
Georgetown County is currently accepting entries for its latest photo contest. The contest seeks photos of buildings and structures within the county that showcase some of our area's amazing architecture.
Entries may include new or old structures, structures that are easily recognizable or those that are lesser know, and those that are well maintained or that have been forgotten. The only requirement is that the structure be located within Georgetown County. Send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5:30 p.m. Aug. 1.
Complete rules and details
Tips for controlling mosquitos and associated threats around your home
May 4, 2016
Though the first case of Zika virus was confirmed in S.C. just last month, the Department of Health and Environmental Control emphasized that mosquitos in S.C. do not currently carry the virus. The person infected was bitten in a country where the virus is prevalent.
However, mosquitos are known to carry and spread many illnesses, including dengue, chikungunya, West Nile virus and malaria. One of the best ways to lower risk of mosquito borne illnesses is to avoid being bitten, said Tim Chatman, who is in charge of Georgetown County’s Mosquito Control Division.
“Homeowners can do a lot to protect themselves around their homes and help prevent a lot of big mosquito problems,” Chatman said. “Just emptying water from containers around the exterior of their homes — any container holding stagnant water — can do a lot to cut down the mosquito population.”
Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitos. Females lay several hundred eggs on the walls of water-filled containers. Eggs stick like glue and remain unless scrubbed off. When water covers the eggs, they hatch and become adult mosquitos in about a week. Just a few infected mosquitos can produce large outbreaks in a community, the Center for Disease Control warns.
Mosquitos are a bigger concern than normal this year, because of the lingering effects of last fall’s historic flooding, combined with an unseasonably warm, wet winter. Those factors created ideal breeding conditions for the insect.
To help control mosquitos around homes, Chatman recommends homeowners empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots or trash containers. This should be done weekly.
Tightly cover water storage containers, such as buckets and rain barrels. For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito. Repair cracks or gaps in septic tanks and cover open vents or plumbing pipes. Use screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitos out of the home.
People can also deter mosquitos by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats and using insect repellent.
Georgetown County Mosquito Control is placing traps throughout the county as part of an effort by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to collect samples of Zika virus testing. Data will be collected through November.
The Mosquito Control Division regularly conducts ground and aerial spraying. To request services in your area, call (843) 545-3615.
Residents advised to review new flood maps
April 30, 2016
Most Georgetown County residents consider themselves blessed to live in an area with so many natural water resources, but the downside is that those resources put much of the county in flood zones.
New federal flood maps released this year updated the flood risk level for many properties in the county. That will have a significant impact on insurance costs for some. And though the new maps are still out for public review and won’t be adopted until next year, county officials have been instructed to start enforcing new flood guidelines and zones now.
“Making sure buildings are built to flood regulations is a huge part of what we do because so much of Georgetown County is affected,” said Boyd Johnson, the county’s planning and zoning director. “It’s our job to make sure buildings — commercial and residential — meet these regulations. The regulations might add a little bit to the construction cost up front, but it’s worth it in the long run. A house that’s not in compliance might still get insurance, but it will be a lot more expensive.”
Requirements vary by flood zone and are tailored to threats ranging from waves to rising water.
“With the new maps, many of the boundaries have changed, so some homes that weren’t in flood zones before, now they are and they’ll have to have flood insurance if they have a mortgage. There are also a few places that were in flood zones and now they’ve been taken out,” Johnson said.
He encourages every property owner to review the new flood maps so they know what the changes may mean for them, and to call the Planning Department with any questions at (843) 545-3158. Members of the public can access the maps here. Select “Flood Maps” and enter your location information. Note that the map that comes up first is the existing flood map. Unclick the box and click on “2016 Flood Zones Proposed Unofficial” to view the new maps.
In regard to changes to regulations, Johnson said one of the biggest for Georgetown County residents is a new county requirement that adds an additional foot to the required federal minimum elevation. That change should go a long way in lowering the county’s flood rating, which would mean a county-wide discount for residents on flood insurance premiums.
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