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Healthy People Living in Healthy Communities

Who We Are

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control touches the life of every South Carolinian every day. Approximately 3,400 fulltime employees and approximately 500 additional hourly/temporary employees provide services through state, regional and county offices.

The General Assembly created DHEC in 1973 when it reunited the State Board of Health (created in 1878) and the Pollution Control Authority. The agency's mission is to promote and protect the health of the public and the environment. DHEC is under the supervision of the Board of Health and Environmental Control, which has seven members, one from each congressional district and one at large. The governor, with the advice and consent of the state Senate, appoints its members.

In addition to offices in Columbia, DHEC operates eight regional health and environmental offices, as well as county public health departments and clinics. These locations ensure that programs and services meet the needs of local areas. Our programs and services fall under four general areas: Environmental Quality Control, Health Regulation, Health Services, and Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

Environmental Quality Control enforces federal and state environmental laws and regulations; issues permits, licenses and certifications for activities that might affect the environment; responds to complaints on environmental activities; inspects permitted entities; responds to environmental emergencies; and conducts environmental education and outreach activities.

Health Regulation oversees the development of a State Health Plan to address the need for medical facilities and services; licenses, certifies and inspects health care facilities; regulates, licenses and inspects sources of electronically-produced radiation (X-rays); and oversees entities that provide emergency medical services in the state.

Health Services includes activities to prevent chronic and infectious diseases; promote healthy mothers, babies and families; improve and assure environmental health in areas such as restaurant sanitation, septic tanks and vector control; perform laboratory analyses for infectious diseases and newborn screening; encourage the reduction of health disparities; and support seniors with in-home health care needs.

Ocean and Coastal Resource Management enforces the S.C. Coastal Zone Management Act to protect coastal resources and promote responsible development through permitting and certification programs in the eight coastal counties.