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Quarries - Water Permitting

Regulatory Authority Overview

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC's) Bureau of Water (BOW) regulatory authority stems from the Federal Clean Water Act, the South Carolina Pollution Control Act, and the South Carolina Stormwater and Sediment Reduction Act as well as the regulations developed under the authority of these acts, such as Regulation 61-9 Water Pollution Control PermitsRegulation 72-300 Standards for Stormwater Management and Sediment Reduction, and Regulation 61-68 Water Classifications and Standards.

Which pollutants are regulated?

The BOW regulates water that is generated at the site such as stormwater runoff and mine dewatering water. A primary pollutant is dirt that might be carried away from the site. DHEC regulates, for example, the level of suspended solids in water.

What quarry operations are subject to review?
  • Discharges of stormwater occurring during construction or during operation; and
  • Discharges of wastewater during operation of a mine such as mine dewatering water, mine process wastewater and mine equipment wash water.
What types of water permits do quarries need?

DHEC issues National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits addressing construction and operational phases. These NPDES permits are both existing general permits that apply to similar operations statewide. The applicant applies for coverage under these existing permits – a registration of sorts. One or both of these permits may be required.

  • CONSTRUCTION: A NPDES permit that controls stormwater runoff from land disturbance associated with the construction of buildings, processing plants and access roads that are not regulated as part of mine operations - SCR100000.
  • OPERATING: A NPDES permit to address water discharged during the operational phase of mining (e.g., mine dewatering, stormwater) including stormwater runoff from land disturbance of the mine and operational components –SCG730000.

What is the permitting review process?

  • SUBMITTAL PROCESS:  The facility submits the applicable Notice of Intent (NOI) form for coverage under each general permit. (Under certain circumstances, it may only be necessary to obtain coverage under SCG730000. Please contact the Department with questions regarding permit applicability.)
  • REVIEW PROCESS: DHEC determines if the activity is allowed under the terms of the two general NPDES permits. The permits already contain the water quality protection features.
  • ISSUANCE PROCESS: DHEC staff grant coverage under the existing general permit and notify the applicant and any individuals who have expressed an interest in permit coverage.

How does the public provide input/comments?

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD : With each of these general permits, DHEC had a public comment period when the permits were issued. The construction NPDES general permit was issued in 2012. The operational NPDES general permit was issued in 2010.

APPEAL PROCESS: See DHEC's Guide to Board Review.

How is compliance with the permit evaluated?

The Permittee has certain monitoring/reporting requirements as well as the responsibility to implement a pollution prevention plan (e.g., having silt fences and other best management practices).

DHEC field staff will periodically visit the site and address operational concerns that are brought to their attention.

(Note: Additional permits/notifications may be submitted.)