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Waste Water Construction Permitting

Wastewater Construction Permitting Frequently Asked Questions


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  1. Is a construction permit required prior to the replacement of existing parts of a currently permitted wastewater treatment system?
  2. What items of the application package must be stamped and signed by a professional engineer?
  3. When a construction permit is issued, how are the operator requirements determined?
  4. When a piece of equipment listed in the construction permit/letter of approval for a wastewater treatment system is permanently decommissioned, does a closure plan need to be submitted?
  5. Explain the requirement of the submittal of "a letter from the owner of the receiving treatment facility agreeing to accept and treat the wastewater" with the pump and haul request report.
  6. Is it possible for a pretreatment facility to receive a construction permit prior to the receipt of approval from the Department for the ultimate disposal of wastewater treatment facility residuals?
  7. Upon receipt of a complete construction permit application, how long will the permitting process take?
  8. Is there a permitting fee required for the construction of storage tanks associated with a wastewater treatment system (e.g. tanks used to store wastewater prior to the pumping/hauling of it to an off-site treatment facility)?
  9. Can an engineering firm prepare "standard design specifications" (water distribution lines and sewer collection lines) for a town and then the town make those specifications available to other engineering firms to utilize when designing projects for acceptance by the town?


1. Is a construction permit required prior to the replacement of existing parts of a currently permitted wastewater treatment system?

R.61-67 includes five exclusions (i.e. construction activities that are not required to have a construction application/letter of approval). The replacement of wastewater treatment components with the same or similar component does not require a construction permit if there is NO change in capacity.

The other four exclusions are: wastewater collection systems approved by permits issued under Regulation 61-56 – Individual Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems; routine maintenance; construction of buildings; and service lines as defined by R.61-67.100.D.


2. What items of the application package must be stamped and signed by a professional engineer?

  1. The construction application, Form DHEC 1970 (04/2000), must have the professional engineer’s signature and registration number. If a formal engineering report is not submitted, this application must also be stamped by the professional engineer. {R.61-67.100.E.2}
  2. The Engineering Report must be stamped and signed by a professional engineer. {R.61-67.100.E.2}
  3. All construction plans must be signed and sealed by a professional engineer. {R.61-67.100.E.4.a.(4)}
  4. Material and construction specifications must be signed and sealed by a professional engineer. {R.61-67.100.E.4.a.(5)}
  5. Record drawings, included in a construction application for an existing system, must be signed and sealed by a professional engineer. {R.61-67.100.E.7.c}

3.When a construction permit is issued, how are the operator requirements determined?

Section 48-1-110(b) of the Pollution Control Act (PCA) states that “The director of Health and Environmental Control shall classify all public wastewater treatment plants….” Additionally, the PCA specifies four classifications for biological wastewater treatment plants and four classifications for physical chemical wastewater treatment plants. Therefore, using the information submitted in the construction application package, the Department establishes a specific classification for each wastewater treatment system. Based on this classification and its cross reference in the Environmental Certification Board Rules and Regulations 51-1 et seq., the Department specifies, in the construction permit, the required operator status. Further, R.61-67.100.E.7 states that prior to the Department’s issuance of an approval to operate for the treatment system, information concerning the treatment plant operator must be submitted.


4. When a piece of equipment listed in the construction permit/letter of approval for a wastewater treatment system is permanently decommissioned, does a closure plan need to be submitted?

Yes, a closure plan for either a piece of permitted equipment or for the entire system must be submitted and approved by the Department prior to initiation of closure activities (R.61-67.300.F.17). The complexity of this closure plan shall be determined by the complexity of the closure process and is regulated by R.61-82 – Proper Closeout of Wastewater Treatment Facilities. Upon the completion of the closure activities, a Department representative will conduct a site visit to verify the completion of approved closure activities.


5. Explain the requirement of the submittal of "a letter from the owner of the receiving treatment facility agreeing to accept and treat the wastewater" with the pump and haul request report.

An applicant requesting approval to pump and haul its wastewater to a wastewater treatment plant (wwtp), that has received an NPDES permit under R.61-9, must submit a letter from the wwtp acknowledging its decision to accept the wastewater, its ability to treat the wastewater, and the appropriate rate (volume of wastewater per day) of acceptance.

However, if an applicant requests to pump and haul its wastewater to a pretreatment facility that discharges into a wwtp, letters must be received from the pretreatment facility, as well as the wwtp. These letters must specify the facility’s acceptance of the waste and the ability to treat the waste. The letter from the pretreatment facility must also specify the rate (volume of wastewater per day) of acceptance.


6. Is it possible for a pretreatment facility to receive a construction permit prior to the receipt of approval from the Department for the ultimate disposal of wastewater treatment facility residuals?

No. For example, if a facility has proposed to land apply, per R.61-9, the sludge generated during the pretreatment process, this facility must have applied for and received a permit for this land application prior to being permitted to construct the pretreatment system. Specifically, any and all permits/approvals required by the Department for the disposal of wastewater treatment facility residuals must have been received by the facility, prior to the issuance of a pretreatment construction permit by the Department. It should be noted that the review process for both the disposal and the construction permits can be concurrent, but that final issuance of a disposal permit must precede the issuance of a construction permit.


7. Upon receipt of a complete construction permit application, how long will the permitting process take?

The Department’s permitting time schedule is outlined in R.61-30.H(2)(a). Specifically, for pretreatment construction or for treatment upgrades without expansions, the Department has 90 calendar days to complete the issuance of the permit; and for new treatment construction or for treatment expansions, the Department has 120 calendar days to complete the issuance of the permit.

It should be noted that these timeframes do not include the time that it takes the applicant to respond to the Department’s questions and comments concerning a proposal.


8. Is there a permitting fee required for the construction of storage tanks associated with a wastewater treatment system (e.g. tanks used to store wastewater prior to the pumping/hauling of it to an off-site treatment facility)?

Yes. This storage is considered a simple system, per R.61-30.G(1)(c)(i)1., and a $200 fee must be submitted with the required application.


9. Can an engineering firm prepare "standard design specifications" (water distribution lines and sewer collection lines) for a town and then the town make those specifications available to other engineering firms to utilize when designing projects for acceptance by the town?

(Answer provided by SC LLR - SC Board of Engineers and Surveyors). It is acceptable for other firms or individuals to use the "standard design specifications". However, the firms or individuals using the "standard design specifications" have some responsibility and liability for those specifications and must ensure they have been thoroughly reviewed for accuracy and appropriateness for the specific project on which they are working.



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