In recent months, the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (SC DHEC) has used technology to improve services for the public to facilitate timely, actionable, information and clear explanations of health concerns and treatment options.
As part of the resources the state provides for residential drinking water wells, South Carolina has expanded its well water testing services information to include help understanding water test results through Be Well Informed (BWI), an E-Enterprise customizable shared service initially developed by New Hampshire’s DES and now supported by ECOS. Using the South Carolina BWI application, individuals may anonymously upload their drinking water lab results and see how their results compare to the state’s standards, understand health concerns, and water treatment choices. BWI is offered free of charge and does not require a login. South Carolina is one of twelve jurisdictions using the service, including Alaska, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming, as well as Wake County, North Carolina. More information is available here on SC DHEC’s Private Wells Program including BWI.
Separately, as part of SC DHEC’s environmental justice initiatives, the state has started a chatbot where any individual can log on over the Internet and type in a question. With the bot, individuals will receive an immediate answer to frequently asked questions without having to make multiple phone calls. Topics included to date are an odor investigation at New Indy (a local regulated facility), an environmental issue, and others. For “environmental issues,” concerns may relate to air quality (burning, facility stack emissions, odors), boats and abandoned vehicles, mining, chemical or oil spills, fishkills, solid or hazardous waste (garbage, tires, drums), and water (sewage, stormwater, pools, coastal issues).
This bot is based on a guide developed by SC DHEC staff and continues to be improved based on the types of complaints received. The chatbot was featured in the ECOS Green Report: State Strides on Environmental Justice & Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.