S. Carolina health agency slammed for incompetence

Imagine a state agency that helps developers build in fragile areas close to the ocean — at taxpayer expense.

Imagine an agency that oversees homes for the disabled in which at least three people have died from neglect in two years.

Imagine an agency posting one of the nation’s worst records for cleaning up leaks from underground gasoline tanks — in a state where more than a quarter of residents drink from wells.

Imagine an agency that regulates garbage landfills helping to turn the state into a trash mecca for the Southeast.

Stop imagining.

That agency exists.

Its name is DHEC — the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

When it comes to decisions that stand to affect millions of people, DHEC has become known as an uneven watchdog for health and the environment. It often sides with companies it regulates during disputes with residents. It often shares crucial information slowly or not at all. And it sometimes remains silent rather than alerting the public to dangers.

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