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NPDES Permitting

Permit Mixing Zones

The following is from SC Regulation 61-68, Water Classifications and Standards.

Section C.10. A mixing zone for surface waters may be allowed by the Department. All water quality standards of the classification of the surface waters, including affected downstream waters, are applicable unless a mixing zone, setting forth certain conditions, is granted by the Department. When the Department grants a mixing zone, the mixing zone shall not be an area of waste treatment nor shall it interfere with or impair the existing uses of the waterbody. The size of the mixing zone shall be minimized, as determined by the Department, and shall be based upon applicable critical flow conditions. Since mixing zones are allocated impact zones where human health and aquatic life numeric criteria can be exceeded, the Department shall restrict their use. The following prohibitions and restrictions are established in order to support these important uses of the waters of the State.

  1. In order to protect human health, mixing zones are not allowed when: they would endanger public health and welfare, any portion of the mixing zone would be in a state-approved source water protection area, the mixing zone would adversely affect shellfish harvesting, or the mixing zone would be for bacteria (e.g. fecal coliform).
  2. In order to protect aquatic life, mixing zones are not allowed when: a pollutant, excluding temperature or thermal, in a discharge would attract biota; the mixing zone would result in undesirable aquatic organisms or a dominance of nuisance species outside of the mixing zone; there is a reasonable expectation that a discharge would adversely affect a federally-listed endangered or threatened aquatic species, its habitat, or a proposed or designated critical habitat; the mixing zone would not allow safe passage of aquatic organisms when passage would otherwise be unobstructed; or the mixing zone would not allow for the protection and propagation of a balanced indigenous aquatic community in and on the water body.
  3. In order to protect both human health and aquatic life, mixing zones are not allowed when: a discharge would not be predicted to or does not produce adequate mixing at the point of discharge; or a discharge would be to a waterbody where multiple discharges interact if the combined mixing zone would impair the waterbody outside the mixing zone. The Department may prohibit or limit mixing zones in waters of the State that may be considered a significant estuarine nursery habitat for resident species.
  4. The size of the mixing zone shall be kept to a minimum and may be determined on an individual project basis considering biological, chemical, engineering, hydrological, and physical factors.

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