The S.C. Dams and Reservoirs Safety Act is the basis of South Carolina's dams and reservoirs safety programs. The purpose of the act is protect citizens health, safety, and welfare by creating a regulatory program to reduce the risk of failure of dams. The law confers upon DHEC the regulatory authority to accomplish the purposes of the act. This includes the power to promulgate regulations, require permits, conduct inspections and take enforcement actions among other things.
In summary, this act empowers the Department to conduct the dams and reservoirs safety program through a wide range of activities such as permitting, inspections, compliance, monitoring, enforcement and public education. To meet the requirements of the act, the Department regulates a large number of dams.
The regulations were initially approved in 1977 and they were most recently amended in July of 1997. The regulations for the most part mirror the requirements of the SC Dams and Reservoirs Safety Act. The regulations create a tiered permitting program based on a classification system of dams. Dams regulated by the Department are classified based on size and hazards. The size classifications are large, intermediate, small, and very small. Hazard classifications are high hazard, significant hazard, and low hazard.
These regulations specify the administrative process for obtaining a permit for either a new dam or the alteration, repair, or removal of an existing dam. The items required to be submitted to the Department as part of the permit application package are also given in the regulations as well as some general design criteria a dam must meet.