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Air Quality

Air Pollutants and Monitoring

When it comes to ensuring our air quality, everyone plays a part in South Carolina. Federal and State laws and regulations require specific actions of state agencies like DHEC. This insures that we are keeping track of our air quality, and it is done with the health and safety of our state's citizens in mind.

The people of our state also have an important role to perform when it comes to clean air for us to breathe. Raising awareness of air quality issues and changing behaviors about air pollution and efforts to reduce them can often start with just one person.

Our schools, communities, local and state governments, businesses and industries here in South Carolina can all work together with your help to Spare the Air!

What is DHEC doing to keep the air safe?

DHEC is responsible for making sure that the air quality in South Carolina meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which are intended were set up to protect public health and the environment.

Air pollution in our state is monitored in several ways. Through our permitting process, safe limits are established for a business, facility, or industry that has an air permit. These permits usually require scheduled reporting of the amount of air pollutants that are emitted and the quantities of materials that are used, produced, or stored. DHEC inspects permitted facilities to assess compliance with their air permit conditions. If the permit conditions are not met, State and Federal laws can require penalties in the form of fines, the installation of additional pollution control devices, and in severe cases suspension of permits and facility shut-downs.

Another way that we keep the air safe is by monitoring and sampling the ambient air. The collected data comes directly from our state's Ambient Air Monitoring Network. Because the data collected from monitoring and sampling is averaged (over a period of time and independent of meteorological factors) and more precise, it is used to determine compliance with federal and state laws and regulations.

Across South Carolina, DHEC is stepping forward to encourage citizens, schools, community groups, and businesses to help keep our air safe.

What can I do to keep my air safe?

There are many ways you can help improve the air quality in South Carolina. The way you drive, the products you use, and the amount of energy you consume all contribute to our air quality.

Reducing the miles that you use your personal vehicle to travel is crucial to the reduction of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and particulate matter. You Hold the Key, SC! and Take a Break from the Exhaust provide resources for you to learn about how you can reduce vehicle miles traveled and mobile source emissions during your daily commute, as well as improving air quality in our state.

Additional programs and partnerships to reach many different groups of South Carolina citizens are available. They are used to raise awareness, encourage behavioral changes, and develop policies and ordinances to improve air quality.

Or look through our detailed list of resources and publications. It provides links to fact sheets, brochures, posters, guidelines, and webpages to give you the information that you need.

In addition to these suggestions, DHEC has compiled a list of Actions You Can Take for Cleaner Air.

For more information please contact the Bureau of Air Quality at (803) 898-4123 or by email.