Coastal Water Quality
DHEC regulates certain activities affecting coastal waters in order to prevent negative impacts to water quality while still allowing for the reasonable use of coastal resources. Coastal waters are defined as the navigable waters of the United States subject to the ebb and flood of the tide and which are saline waters, shoreward to their mean high-water mark (R.30-1 D.(12)). Through the Critical Area Permitting Regulations, DHEC considers several factors when evaluating proposed projects, including the extent of environmental impacts and the potential for long-range, cumulative impacts from development.
DHEC also manages nonpoint source pollution through regulatory and planning programs. DHEC Bureau of Water oversees South Carolina’s NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges From Large and Small Construction Activities (2006 NPDES CGP), with DHEC implementing this program for construction activities in the eight coastal counties. In addition, DHEC's stormwater permitting and certification section reviews permits (both State and Federal), Federal licenses and State/Federal funding requests to determine if the proposed activities are consistent with SC’s Coastal Program before action is taken.
In addition to implementing regulatory and management authorities, DHEC actively coordinates with the Bureau of Water on the EPA’s Section 319 statewide nonpoint source management program and also directly implements the Federal Coastal Nonpoint Program (Section 310, Federal CZMA) to address nonpoint source pollution within the Coastal Zone of South Carolina.
Research and Policy Development
- South Carolina Estuarine and Coastal Assessment Program (SCECAP)
- Dredging and Spoil Disposal Needs Assessment (pdf)
- Dredging and Disposal Alternatives and Techniques for South Carolina Coastal Marina (pdf)
- Clean Marina Program
- Best Management Practices and Low Impact Development
- Septic Tank Planning and Maintenance
Extension and Education
- Beach Water Quality and Swimming Advisories (DHEC Bureau of Water)
- South Carolina Coastal Information Network
- Scoop the Poop!