Could you imagine going through life every day with near-debilitating, chronic back pain? Back pain is one of the most common ailments in America - it's estimated that 8% of all adults, or 16 million people, suffer from chronic back pain in the U.S. every year. If you've never experienced a back injury or pain, be thankful. Chronic back pain affects every aspect of a person's life, from participating in sports to limitations with everyday activities, like cooking dinner. In fact, many people with chronic back pain can't even make a reliable living and put food on the table. Almost 83 million workdays are lost every year due to choric back pain.
The inability to work and provide isn't just a physical issue - it can become an emotional one too. Many people suffering from chronic back pain also suffer from depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, in the past, chronic back pain sufferers wanting to avoid addictive medications and invasive surgeries had few viable relief options. However, if you're suffering from a chronic back issue like sciatica, a pinched nerve, or a bulging disc, pain relief may be closer than you think.
Modern chiropractic care and, more specifically, a spinal decompression chiropractor in Awendaw, SC, may be the long-term solution you need for chronic back pain.
A common misconception is that chiropractors only adjust your back and neck when, in fact, they treat the whole body with all-natural treatments. Here at Elite Healthcare, our doctors focus on your overall health, not just pain. We want to find and address the underlying causes of your symptoms. If you're unfamiliar with an integrative approach to medicine, this strategy may seem new. Our chiropractic care is less about putting a band-aid on the problem and more about finding a natural, long-term solution to your pain.
Fortunately, our experienced chiropractors provide the best in natural pain relief. Prescription and over-the-counter pain medications mask the symptoms you're experiencing versus getting to the cause of your pain. Pain is often the result of your spine being out of alignment, which leads to nerve issues. Once your spine is back in alignment, the nerves function correctly again.
Because our chiropractic center offers a combination of different therapies and non-surgical treatments, we provide a comprehensive approach to healing. Depending on the extent of your back problems, spinal decompression therapy may be the answer to your chronic pain problems.
Initially developed in 1985 by Dr. Allan Dyer, spinal decompression has been used by chiropractors for years. Unfortunately, spinal decompression is often passed over as a viable treatment, despite its numerous benefits.
In the past, patients suffering from chronic back pain issues like herniated discs were usually prescribed powerful medications. They were instructed to refrain from physical activities, referred to a physical therapist, and sent on their way. While physical therapy has an important role in back pain recovery, some back conditions need a more comprehensive treatment approach. For those patients, surgery seemed like the only option.
Today, patients with chronic back pain have many more options to consider. One of the most effective treatments for serious back pain is spinal decompression. This proven therapy, provided by Elite Healthcare, has been shown to significantly reduce pain and help patients live a normal, even active lifestyle once again.
Spinal decompression, also called Lumbar Cervical Decompression Therapy (LCD Therapy), is a very effective non-surgical solution to chronic back pain problems. If you're like most patients, your back pain is caused by disc issues related to your spine. This type of therapy uses computer technology and a spinal decompression machine in cityname, state, to stretch your spinal column slowly and gently, relieving abnormal pressure on the discs in your back, which sit in between your vertebrae.
This precise stretching action causes negative pressure to form inside the discs in your back, making them retract. With time, this negative pressure causes a reverse vacuum of sorts that actually draws your protruding discs into place. When pressure is removed from the disc segments in your spine, you experience much-needed pain relief.
The primary purpose of spinal decompression therapy is to provide you with immediate pain relief while creating a healthy environment to heal your spinal disc condition. Some of the most common conditions that spinal decompression therapy treats include:
This happens when spinal discs in your back are pushed outside of the spinal canal. When pushed outside of their usual space, these discs can put pressure on the nerves in your spine, resulting in localized pain and pain throughout your body. If a bulging disc is left untreated, it has a high chance of rupturing, which can necessitate surgery and longer recovery time.
Herniated discs are discs in your back that fracture or crack and leak fluid. The fluid or gel that leaks from a herniated disc may irritate the nerves in your back. When this happens, you may experience an intense burning sensation that shoots up and down your lower back and legs.
As you grow older, joints in your body, like your knees and hips, begin to wear away with time. The same thing can happen to the discs in your back. Often caused by heavy lifting or a family history of spine problems, degenerative discs are painful and can lead to serious situations. In advanced cases, bone spurs can form and affect the nerves of your spine.
When a herniated disc or bone spur begins to put pressure on the nerves in your back, it often causes sciatica. Sciatica is a common back problem that causes pain to radiate from your lower back down your legs via your sciatic nerve. Sometimes, this pain is only felt in one of your legs.
This condition is similar to arthritis of your spine, where the cartilage inside your facet joint breaks down and becomes inflamed. The result is often intense neck and back pain. It's most often caused by degenerative changes in the joints located between the bones of your spine.
This painful condition manifests when the space in your backbone is too small. When this happens, pressure impacts your spinal cord and the nerves that travel through it. Like other conditions treated by a spinal decompression therapy cityname, state, stenosis is caused by wear-and-tear in your back, which forms arthritis.
This term is often used to classify a range of back problems, most often caused by a pinched nerve root in your spinal column. This pinched nerve root may occur in different locations down your spine, like the lumbar or thoracic areas. Usually caused by a narrowing of the space where your nerve root leaves the spine, symptoms of this condition include pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
If you're looking for a safe way to relieve your chronic back pain, spinal decompression should be on your list of treatments to consider. This painless procedure is backed by research showing higher success rates in many patients when compared to spinal surgery. Unlike many medications, spinal decompression from Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine is designed to correct the condition you're facing while also minimizing costs and eliminating recovery and downtime.
Some of the most popular reasons why patients choose spinal decompression over surgery and other treatments include:
Invasive procedures, like back surgeries, often leave the patient racked with pain, long recovery times, and complications. Sometimes, the surgery doesn't work as intended, leaving the patient responsible for a therapy that didn't work correctly. As a non-invasive treatment, spinal decompression therapy can treat back and neck pain without needles, incisions, or harmful manipulations of the spine.
Getting back pain relief from surgery is far from guaranteed. However, because spinal decompression targets the underlying causes of your back pain, it's a much more effective long-term treatment. Spinal decompression is not a quick fix. When coupled with positive lifestyle changes like losing weight, you can maximize the pain-relieving benefits of spinal decompression.
Surgery of the back and spine requires the patient to be bedridden and uncomfortable for days and even weeks. Recovering from back surgery is no easy feat and often requires strong pain medications to help. Sometimes, back surgeries don't go as planned, causing complications and worse scenarios. Spinal decompression, on the other hand, is very effective and doesn't require much recovery time at all. Once your spinal decompression session is over, you'll probably be able to drive yourself home from our office.
One of the least talked about issues with back pain medications is that they only treat the pain, not the underlying causes. For many patients, relying on meds to relieve back pain fosters dependency on pain pills. Pain pill addiction is a very serious issue in the U.S., often leading patients down a dark path. With spinal decompression, you won't have to worry about taking pills for pain relief. That's because the root causes of your back pain are addressed, not just the symptoms.
If you were to look at the cost of surgery and subsequent years of prescription medication, you might be shocked. When compared to spinal decompression, surgery is a much more expensive treatment to consider. You've got to take the cost of surgery into account, but also the fact that you'll be forced to take time off work. By choosing spinal decompression therapy, you're choosing a safe, non-surgical treatment that doesn't require any time off work.
Spinal decompression relieves pressure on disrupted discs, causing them to retract back into place. This revolutionary treatment also lets oxygen, fluids, and nutrients re-enter your spinal discs, which provides additional healing.
By now, you probably have a better idea of how spinal decompression can help rid your life of back pain. But spinal decompression treatment does more than help with bulging discs, herniated discs, arthritis, and more. It has also been shown to provide patients with important quality-of-life benefits.
As mentioned above, harsh surgeries leave you bedridden and unable to work for long periods of time. Spinal decompression allows you to jump right back into the workforce, so you can continue providing for your family. Plus, reducing your back pain naturally increases your mobility since you won't be stressing about hurting yourself while moving. Instead, you'll be living in the moment.
One of the worst symptoms affecting people with back pain is the inability to sleep well. Sleeping with back pain can be horrible, causing you to toss and turn to find a comfortable spot. As soon as you find one and get settled, your back starts to hurt again. It's a vicious cycle, but adjusting your spine and relieving pressure with spinal decompression will help you get a good night's rest.
Did you know that when your spine is decompressed, it helps fluids circulate throughout your body? These fluids actually flush your lymphatic system, which helps support your overall immune system. Better circulation also benefits your brain and can help boost concentration and memory. The improved circulation from spinal decompression may also distribute oxygen and nutrients to your skin, creating a multi-benefit effect.
We are happy to answer your questions, and help you find the services you need. Please message us to get started.
At Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine, we practice an integrated approach to pain relief and chiropractic care. Our goal is to restore your spine to its proper alignment, which speeds up your recovery time and prevents additional injuries. If chronic back pain has taken over your life, it's time to visit our chiropractic office for a thorough evaluation.
Ask yourself this: Have you been suffering from headaches and sleepless nights due to muscle strain? Is your ability to work and put food on the table compromised due to a pinched nerve? No amount of over-the-counter pain medication can provide a long-term fix for such an issue. Thankfully, our chiropractors have years of experience providing relief to patients just like yourself.
After a comprehensive exam, our doctor will create an individualized treatment plan tailored to your body. That way, we can address the full scope of your symptoms by correcting any root causes of your back pain.
From minor chiropractic adjustments to spinal decompression treatment, we'll find the solution that your back and body need to heal correctly. If you're ready to get back on the road to better health, we're here to help every step of the way. Contact our Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine today to get started.
A potential new middle and high school in Awendaw has a chance to be a partial magnet school, and students from multiple parts of the district can be pulled toAWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - A potential new middle and high school in Awendaw has a chance to be a partial magnet school, and students from multiple parts of the district can be pulled to take part in a specialized curriculum.Charleston County School District Board Members and the people of Mount Pleasant got to hear new details about the potential schools on Wednesday. Distri...
A potential new middle and high school in Awendaw has a chance to be a partial magnet school, and students from multiple parts of the district can be pulled to
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - A potential new middle and high school in Awendaw has a chance to be a partial magnet school, and students from multiple parts of the district can be pulled to take part in a specialized curriculum.
Charleston County School District Board Members and the people of Mount Pleasant got to hear new details about the potential schools on Wednesday. District officials told people at the meeting, held at Laing Middle School, that a lot of the plans right now are just ideas with no specific timeline.
This new middle and high school would be located on 107 acres at Highway 17 and Jenkins Hill Road. As part of this plan, district staff presented concept maps with multiple options for rezoning.
Jeff Borowy, the Chief Operating Officer for the district, says this plan will be a challenge.
“Most of the times we build a school, we just build a specific zone of attendance for that school, but in this case, we want to have a number of students to offer the right programs for those students,” Borowy said. “So, we have to look out of the box and look for something different beyond the zone.”
District staff says one of the main challenges is making sure that each school holds a maximum of 500 students. This would pull in kids from D1, the Awendaw-McClellanville area, and some from D2 in the northern Mount Pleasant area.
Staff also say they are continuing to research desirable education options for a partial magnet school to reach that target enrollment.
“It’s going to be very important to let’s build the school from up, but at the same time, let’s figure out what we’re going to be doing inside,” Thomas Colleton, D1 Constituent Board Chair, said. “The curriculum needs a lot.”
There is currently no timeline on construction for the schools because the district does not know if this magnet option will be included. The district says it is possible that the earliest we can start to see construction would be in four years.
Jonathan Mars, a parent of two children at Carolina Park Elementary, says this could be an option for his family when his kids get older.
“But it does sound like they’re going to have very specific programs at the school,” Mars said. “So, for example, if there’s a great art program and my daughter’s really into art that seems like a great option to have.”
As of now, this project is not fully funded and the district says they do not have a price estimate.
They say the next step is to charter a blue-ribbon committee in mid-October that will look at enrollment numbers and look at the best options to make this project successful.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
AWENDAW — Elliott Summey, head of South Carolina’s largest airport, used the town of Awendaw’s natural resources for personal gain during his private company’s work on an unfinished park here, a new lawsuit by the town alleges.The lawsuit echoes the findings in ...
AWENDAW — Elliott Summey, head of South Carolina’s largest airport, used the town of Awendaw’s natural resources for personal gain during his private company’s work on an unfinished park here, a new lawsuit by the town alleges.
The lawsuit echoes the findings in “Sand Man,” a report last year by The Post and Courier-led Uncovered investigative reporting collaboration.
That report revealed how Summey’s company, Jackson Development, mined millions of dollars in sand and dirt from the park site, then left Awendaw in the dark about how much money he made and how much money taxpayers should have received in royalties.
Filed June 10, the town’s 16-page complaint went a few steps further.
Among its allegations:
Summey, a former Charleston County Council chairman and son of North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, said his attorney has been trying to resolve disputes through arbitration and mediation.
“Now that the town has filed a lawsuit, this will allow all the facts to be presented in a fair, transparent and public manner,” he said. Summey declined to discuss specific allegations raised by the lawsuit.
Awendaw Town Attorney Toya Hampton acknowledged that “passions are running high” about the park. “The Town is standing up for its rights under the agreement through the lawsuit.”
The lawsuit didn’t specify an amount it’s seeking.
The lawsuit is the latest chapter in the controversial project.
In 2009, Charleston County Council voted to use Greenbelt money to buy 290 acres off Doar Road. On council then, Summey was a deciding vote. Three years later, Summey created Jackson Development — and scored a deal to mine the land’s sand.
The deal called for Jackson Development to spend $500,000 to help Awendaw build a park. Once it hit that $500,000 mark, Summey’s company was supposed to pay Awendaw an additional 50 cents for every cubic yard excavated from the site — and more if the price of dirt rose, which it did significantly over the coming years.
The town hoped to use these royalties to finish the park.
But Summey’s company turned over far less royalty money than the town expected, about $150,000.
And while the site has a large lake from the sand mining operation, the park itself remains unfinished. The town recently unveiled a new plan featuring disc golf, an amphitheater and space for overnight camping. But it remains unclear how the town will pay for this work.
With the park project in limbo, Summey and the town have been battling over the royalties.
According to the town’s agreement with Jackson Development, Summey’s company was supposed to hand over detailed receipts, canceled checks, invoices and other documentation about his mining progress.
But Summey and his contractor, Robert Collins Co., failed to do so, the lawsuit alleged.
Amid this vacuum of documentation, Awendaw Town Council in October 2020 hired the Greenville-based Wyche firm to challenge Summey.
Summey, meanwhile, left his County Council post for a job as chief executive officer of Charleston International Airport, earning more than $318,000 in salary and perks.
The lawsuit raises new questions about Summey’s mix of public and private ventures.
Summey has created about 20 private corporations, according to state and court records. Most appear to involve real estate ventures, with the notable exception of Jackson Development.
The lawsuit alleged that Jackson Development was a “corporate fiction ... used by Summey as a means of evading legal obligations,” and that Summey should be personally liable.
The lawsuit also discussed a large berm Summey and his company built on the site.
Running parallel to Doar Road, the berm was supposed to protect a nearby neighborhood from dust and noise. A permit from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control required that the berm be made from topsoil from the park site.
But according to the lawsuit, Summey and his company violated the permit by packing the berm with concrete, asphalt, rebar, items of clothing and other trash, earning at least $100,000.
Doing this violated DHEC permit requirements and will force the town to spend at least $150,000 to fix new drainage problems created by the berm, the lawsuit alleged.
According to a DHEC inspection report in 2020, Summey’s company was supposed to remove the berm.
The lawsuit also claimed that Summey and his company sold timber from the Awendaw tract without paying the town.
It concluded by alleging Summey misused and converted the town’s resources “for personal gain to fund Defendants’ own businesses at the expense of the Town and its residents and taxpayers.”
The Awendaw project’s problems have had a ripple effect beyond Elliott Summey.
A North Charleston city employee, DeLisa Reynolds, alleges that Mayor Keith Summey retaliated against her after one of her family members posted a negative comment on Instagram about Elliott Summey’s work in Awendaw. She has filed formal complaints with the city of North Charleston and the S.C. Human Rights Commission.
Thirteen years have passed since Charleston County voted to buy the Doar Road property with public Greenbelt money. But the park site remains empty, save for a few dirt roads, a power pole, a water well and a large berm overlooking a lake.
Beyond what happened and didn’t happen in Awendaw, the project highlights a weakness in the state ethics laws.
In The Post and Courier’s October report, Summey said he was told by the State Ethics Commission that he didn’t have to report the money he made in Awendaw, prompting a government watchdog to say that it was “appalling that millions of dollars are not really accounted for.”
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCBD) -A proposed development, the White Tract Development, in Awendaw has some neighbors calling for a time-out.Pulte Homes, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, is seeking the Town of Awendaw’s approval to build a 200+ home subdivision on approximately 148 acres. The planned location is just down the street from the intersection of Seewee and Bulls Island Roads.Some neighbors say they’re worried a large subdivision could cause future problems for the area.“If you go down Bull...
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCBD) -A proposed development, the White Tract Development, in Awendaw has some neighbors calling for a time-out.
Pulte Homes, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, is seeking the Town of Awendaw’s approval to build a 200+ home subdivision on approximately 148 acres. The planned location is just down the street from the intersection of Seewee and Bulls Island Roads.
Some neighbors say they’re worried a large subdivision could cause future problems for the area.
“If you go down Bulls Island Road right now, it’s very peaceful and tranquil…a pretty little country scene.,” said Greg St. Pierre, an Awendaw resident. “They’re gonna exploit every bit of that.”
St. Pierre and his neighbors understand growth is inevitable, but they’re hopeful Awendaw leaders will do it in what they call “the right way.” St. Pierre says there should be proactive plans for stormwater drainage, traffic mitigation, improved roadways, and more before the neighborhood is built. Additionally, the proposed spot is close to a National Wildlife Refuge and neighbors say it could be harmful to the species that thrive there.
On top of that, he says residents weren’t informed about the possible development until very recently and are now being asked to voice their opinions in a public hearing next week.
“Basically, the people are just asking for a little bit more time to understand what’s happening here.”
“You can’t stop people from selling their land, you can’t stop development from happening. It’s gonna happen, but do the right thing and don’t cram a bunch of cookie-cutter houses on postage-stamp-sized lots,” said St. Pierre.
Another concern by St. Pierre is the town’s lack of a full-time planning director. Currently, the town only has a part-time interim planning director in-house four hours per week.
News 2 contacted the Town of Awendaw with some of the questions posed by St. Pierre. The questions and answers are below.
Q: Are you aware of the concerns of Awendaw residents about the potential White Tract development? If so, what is your response?
A: The Town is aware of the concerns about the White Tract development. The White Tract Development is being developed under the auspices of a Planned Development adopted by Town Council in 2006. The approval of that Planned Development document also raised many of the concerns the Town is hearing today. A Planned Development is utilized in order to allow the Town to allow flexibility in development that will result in improved design, character, and quality of new developments and preserve natural and scenic features of open spaces. The Town of Awendaw provides for the establishment of planned development districts as amendments to a locally adopted zoning ordinance and official zoning map. The adopted Planned Development map is the zoning district map for the property. The planned development provisions must encourage innovative site planning within planned development districts. Planned development districts may provide for variations from other ordinances and the regulations of other established zoning districts concerning use, setbacks, lot size, density, bulk, and other requirements to accommodate flexibility in the arrangement of uses for the general purpose of promoting and protecting the public health, safety, and general welfare.
Q: We are hearing concerns about infrastructure surrounding the area (roads, water drainage, etc.) should a subdivision be built in the listed area. Does the town have proactive plans to address possible future problems (deteriorating roads, a lack of turning lanes leading to traffic safety concerns, water drainage) as a result of a large neighborhood?
In collaboration with the County of Charleston, the Army Corps of Engineers, DHEC and other jurisdictions, the Town is assured that roadways, stormwater drainage and traffic concerns are addressed. The Town may request additional plans and specifications of the developer of the land should they feel that something might need to mitigated in an appropriate fashion. The applicant has submitted plans to subdivide the three parcels of approximate 148 acres in to 204 parcels.
Q: I understand the Town of Awendaw only has a part-time (4 hours per week) Planning Director. Can the town handle a development of this size?
A: This is correct. The BCDCOG is contracting with the Town to provide an experienced Planning Director on an Interim basis. The Director is on-site at Town Hall for 4 hours per week, however, the Director spends upwards of 10-16 hours per week on Awendaw business. The past Town Administrator, Bill Wallace, is also actively working part-time for the Town and has over 4 decades of urban planning experience. Between the two individuals, the Town feels we have more than adequate experience to handle this project.
“If we can’t stop the neighborhood, we’re going to try to push for more green spaces, road improvements, anything that’s gonna help in the community,” said St. Pierre.
A public hearing is set for March 21st at 6 p.m. at Awendaw Town Hall for residents to share their opinions on the proposed development. St. Pierre says many people plan to come out and voice their concerns in hopes that the application for development will be denied.
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AWENDAW, S.C. (WCBD) – A small victory for many Awendaw residents after the town planning commission decided to postpone the vote on a controversial neighborhood proposal.Nearly 100 people packed into Town Hall for a public hearing Monday night. Many made their voices heard leading to eruptions of applause, laughter, and even booing.The packed public hearing stems from many Awendaw residents having concerns about the proposed White Tract Development.It’s slated to go between the intersection of Bulls Island a...
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCBD) – A small victory for many Awendaw residents after the town planning commission decided to postpone the vote on a controversial neighborhood proposal.
Nearly 100 people packed into Town Hall for a public hearing Monday night. Many made their voices heard leading to eruptions of applause, laughter, and even booing.
The packed public hearing stems from many Awendaw residents having concerns about the proposed White Tract Development.
It’s slated to go between the intersection of Bulls Island and Seewee Roads and Garris Landing on Bulls Island Road. Pulte Homes, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, is the applicant.
More than 200 homes would be built on approximately 148 acres.
Many Awendaw residents say there’s a list of problems including heavily increased and potentially dangerous traffic on two-lane roads, water drainage issues, and a harmful impact to Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge which is nearby.
It’s described by the Fish and Wildlife Service as a rich mosaic of barrier islands with forest and ponds, vast salt marshes and intricate waterways. FWS says this diverse and dynamic system supports over 293 bird species and a myriad of other wildlife.
Additionally, it is a nesting site for loggerhead sea turtles and a fresh source for shrimp and oysters.
Susan Cox and other neighbors say building 200+ septic tanks on 148 acres so close to the refuge would be detrimental.
“We are not against development, we are against poorly planned development. And the density that is proposed for these housing developments here is more than the soil is likely to be able to handle. And it’s too close to the waterways to make any sense at all,” said Cox.
Awendaw does not have a sewer system, so all new development is built on septic tanks. Cox says while her neighborhood is also built on septic tanks, the homes are fewer and further between than the proposed development.
“We have 65 homes on 300 or 400 acres of land,” she said. “It’s our goal to make the town of Awendaw and the Department of Health and Environmental Control in South Carolina understand that septic tanks of this density and in this area are a very bad idea.”
The Town of Mt. Pleasant has been working to decrease the number of septic tanks in town for years due to sewage leaks into waterways such as Shem Creek. James Island residents have also reported problems that Charleston Waterkeeper says are likely due to leaking septic tanks.
That’s one prong of the argument Awendaw residents are making.
Cox and many others in Awendaw say the refuge should be protected and development should be done properly.
Now, the planning commission and town residents will have until the next planning commission meeting to gather information, make proposed alterations of the current proposal to the developer, and attempt to find a plan that pleases a majority of people.
This is a developing story. Count On 2 for updates on air and online.
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - The coastal waterways are home to activities like fishing, shrimping and hold many of the Lowcountry’s famous oysters. However, a nonprofit environmental law firm and the people of Awendaw say these waterways could be in jeopardy.Charleston Waterkeeper and South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, two environmental organizations of the Lowcountry, want the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to have more of an oversight of septic systems that are being installed by the en...
AWENDAW, S.C. (WCSC) - The coastal waterways are home to activities like fishing, shrimping and hold many of the Lowcountry’s famous oysters. However, a nonprofit environmental law firm and the people of Awendaw say these waterways could be in jeopardy.
Charleston Waterkeeper and South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, two environmental organizations of the Lowcountry, want the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to have more of an oversight of septic systems that are being installed by the entire coastline. Because of this, they filed a complaint in November that is now moving its way through the circuit court.
“DHEC has, no one has, any idea how many septic systems exist in South Carolina because no one’s keeping track of it,” Emily Nellermoe, staff attorney at the South Carolina Environmental Law Firm and one of the lead attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said.
One of the many areas of concern is in the Town of Awendaw. Back in the spring, the town’s planning commission approved two large residential subdivisions, resulting in more than 400 septic tanks coming right next to the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Susan Cox lives in Awendaw and says she is passionate about saving these waterways.
“The mission statement of the Town of Awendaw says they want to maintain the rural character of the town, but there is nothing about a dense housing development that says rural,” Cox said.
Cox says her and her neighbors believe this area was improperly rezoned years ago. She says these septic tanks are going to do irreversible harm to the wildlife.
Andrew Wunderley, director of Charleston Waterkeeper, says his organization tests the water quality of areas like these.
“There’s evidence that septic tanks, especially clustered at high densities, can discharge pollution by creeks and rivers,” Wunderley said. “So, it’s a huge concern... Any of those activities that make the Lowcountry lifestyle and living here in the Lowcountry so special are put at risk.”
Nellermoe says she doesn’t know why the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is not asking these important questions.
“What are the impacts of 200 septic systems on the watershed overall?” Nellermoe said. “What are the impacts to oyster beds and shellfish harvesting? They’re not asking any of those questions and they should be and that’s a problem.”
The Department of Health and Environmental Control says they do not comment on pending litigation. However, Nellermoe says she heard from them recently and they say they do not have to use their specialized agency to review these permits and they are not breaking any laws.
“This is the largest undeveloped piece of coastline on the East coast in the United States of America and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Cox said. “You can’t get it back.”
The Town of Awendaw has not responded for a comment. Nellermoe says the timeline on this complaint depends on court scheduling, so there is not a set date of when further action will be taken.
The filed complaint for South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and Charleston Waterkeeper v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is below.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.