DHEC operates air monitoring stations throughout South Carolina to measure the concentrations of pollutants in outdoor (ambient) air that are considered harmful to public health and the environment. The EPA sets national ambient air standards for each type of pollutant and sets minimum requirements for both the number and distribution of monitors among metropolitan statistical areas. The EPA also requires states to meet quality assurance and other standards.
DHEC monitors concentrations of six pollutants the EPA has designated as criteria pollutants:
We also monitor for fluoride, air toxics, pollution impacts (such as regional haze and acid rain) and other S.C.-specific pollution standards.
Visit DHEC's South Carolina Ambient Air Monitoring map to see the location of all the air quality monitoring stations in South Carolina. Click on a location to bring up a description of the monitoring site and an explanation of what we are measuring at that location. The map also provides historical graphs showing concentrations of major pollutants found at each monitoring station.
Ambient Air Network Monitoring Plan
Notice of South Carolina Network Description and Ambient Air Monitoring Network Plan Public Comment Period
In 1970, Congress enacted the Clean Air Act, which created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This gave the EPA the responsibility to create laws to regulate certain air pollutants (called criteria pollutants) in order to protect human health and the environment. As a result, all states were required to operate a network of ambient (outdoor) air monitors that measure these criteria pollutants and report the data to the EPA. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) currently operates 30 monitoring sites.
States are required to submit an annual air monitoring network plan (Network Plan) to the EPA that describes their current ambient air monitoring network and indicate any changes for the next calendar year. Before the Network Plan is published, it is placed on this web page for 30 days to allow the public to read it and make comments by mail or e-mail. This is your opportunity to provide remarks and/or concerns on the locations and types of ambient air monitoring that the SCDHEC conducts. As part of this process, all comments received are responded to and included as a summary in the final Network Plan, which is then submitted to the EPA for approval.
If you would like to comment on this Network Plan, please e-mail comments to Tommy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal service at:
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29210
The EPA requires states to have a yearly monitoring network plan in place and conduct periodic network assessments (every five years beginning in 2010).
Here is the most recent annual monitoring plan network plan and periodic network assessment.
(Note: Documents are in PDF format. You may need to download free software that allows you to read documents in PDF format.)
Monitoring the air we breathe is one of the most important responsibilities of the Bureau of Air Quality (BAQ). The data we collect is used by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, individuals within DHEC, and the general public. A history of South Carolina's Ambient Air Quality Data Summaries and Criteria Pollutant Daily Maxima are presented below.
Note: Some of these files are very large and could be slow to download. Documents below are presented in xls or pdf format.
BAQ Annual Report (1990 - 2005) Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Data is located in the appendix, starting on page 45