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Waste Water Construction Permitting

Detailed Description of Sewer System Permitting


  1. General

    1. Overview and Where to Submit
    2. Service Lines
    3. Delegated Review Program

  2. Permit Process Phases

    Preliminary Engineering Report (PER)

    Plans and Specifications (Construction Permit Application)

    1. Submittal Package
    2. Administrative Processing
    3. Plan Review
    4. Construction Permit Issuance
    5. Extension of a Construction Permit
    6. Modifications to Approved Plans

    Operational Approval

    1. Construction
    2. Authorization to Place the System into Service
    3. As-built Plans


  1. General

    1. Overview and Where to Submit

      Plans and specifications and in some cases, a preliminary engineering report (PER), are submitted to the appropriate Section of the Bureau. Sewer system projects have multiple phases which are

      PER (if applicable)
      Plans/specs (construction permit application)
      Operational Approval
      Each phase must be completed via Bureau approval before the project can go to the next phase.

      There is a construction permit application fee for collection system projects. Click here for application fees.

      To be conservative, projects should be submitted at least ninety (90) days prior to the date a construction permit will be needed. The actual review time will vary. This will depend upon the complexity of the project and the workload of the Bureau when the project is submitted.

      Only sewer systems that connect to the same treatment plant can be included in one submittal package. If an entity has more than one treatment plant and wants to install sewer systems connecting to different plants, a separate and complete submittal is required for the sewer systems connecting to each.

    2. Service Lines

      Lines that serve only one building are not normally required to have a construction permit from the Bureau. However, if the line is off of the project's property and has the potential to serve future projects, a construction permit may be required (refer to Regulation 61-67 for the definition of a service line). Further, if industrial wastewater or large volumes of domestic wastewater (in relation to the treatment plant size) are involved, the loading to the treatment plant should be approved by the Bureau. When two service lines connect together, this is considered a main sewer that must receive a permit to construct from the Bureau. For more information, please visit our WEB page on Service Connections.

    3. Delegated Review Program

      The Bureau has a Delegated Review Program (DRP) for sewer system projects in which qualified public entities perform the technical plan review for the Bureau for sewer system projects connecting onto their treatment plants. The procedures are the same as the non-delegated entities except for the submittal requirements on the PER and plans. For these projects, the submittal is made directly to the delegated entity. After the delegated entity completes the technical review and obtains the appropriate certifications from the agencies involved in the Bureau's permitting program, the delegated entity will make the proper submittal to the appropriate Section of the Bureau. The submittal package requirements listed below are for sewer system projects connecting onto entities that do not have the Delegated Review Program. For more information, please see the Bureau publication entitled "Delegated Construction Review Program", or visit our WEB page on the Delegated Construction Review Program.

      Click here for a list of those entities that are involved in this program.

  2. Permit Process Phases

    Preliminary Engineering Report (PER)

    In some cases, a PER may be required for a project. See Regulation 61-67 for details. Where discretionary, PER submittal may be useful in getting DHEC approval of the conceptual design prior to allocating funds for a detailed design (i.e., plans/specs).

    Plans and Specifications (Construction Permit Application)

    Submittal of a set of plans/specs as part of the application for a permit to construct is described below.

    1. Submittal Package

      A complete administrative package must be submitted by an engineer registered in SC. The submittal package must include the following information:

      1. A transmittal letter outlining the submittal package.

      2. Three (3) sets of plans and specifications, signed and stamped by the consulting engineer (specifications may not be required if the consulting engineer has approved standard specifications on file with the Bureau).

      3. The original application for permit to construct (most current version) properly filled out with the appropriate signatures and two (2) copies.

      4. A letter of acceptance from the entity providing the treatment of the wastewater. This letter should give the number of lots (if applicable) and the flow in gallons per day being accepted and the NPDES or Land Application permit number of the receiving treatment plant. It should also include a statement on the ownership and operation and maintenance of the proposed collection system. If the owner of the treatment plant or the applicant is not responsible for ownership and operation and maintenance of the system then a separate letter from the responsible party must also be included.

      5. Three (3) copies of the construction easements necessary to build the project. This is not needed if the project is owned by a public entity with the right of eminent domain. Where easements are required from the Highway Department, DHEC does not need these prior to permitting.

      6. Three (3) copies of the appropriate design calculations including flow and pump station calculations with a copy of the pump curve. The flow calculations should be based on the unit loadings given in Regulation 61-67, Appendix A. Variances from the values in Regulation 61-67 must be justified.

      7. Three (3) copies of an 8 ½" x 11" location map. This should be separate from the plans. Therefore, even if there is a location map on the plans there still needs to be a separate map on an 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper with two (2) copies provided.

      8. Three (3) copies of the preliminary engineering report, if applicable prepared according to Regulation 61-67. The consulting engineer should sign and seal each copy of the report.

      9. One (1) copy of an overall layout sheet of the wastewater system separate from the plans. This layout must show the proposed sewer systems and their sizes and include existing streets and sewer systems, as a reference point. The proposed sewer systems must be highlighted to be easily identified. This sheet will be sent to the Department of Commerce when the project is permitted.

      10. The appropriate construction permit application fee based on Regulation 61-30.

      The submittal package should be sent to the attention of the appropriate Section Manager of the Bureau at the following address:

      Bureau of Water
      DHEC
      2600 Bull Street
      Columbia, SC 29201

      An incomplete submittal may be returned. Therefore, please insure the submittal package contains the correct number of copies of each item.

    2. Administrative Processing

      The review of construction projects will normally be on a "first come/first serve" basis by each program area. Therefore, construction plans and specifications will be reviewed in chronological order based on the date the complete package is received. Upon receipt of a complete package, the project will be placed in line for technical review. For submittals missing certain administrative items, a letter will be sent out noting the deficiency.

      For a complete submittal package, the requests for comments from the entities involved in the permitting process will be sent when the project is initially received. These requests will be sent to the appropriate 208 Planning entity and DHEC's Bureau of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management for projects in coastal counties. It may be sent to the appropriate Regional Office of EQC depending upon the project.

    3. Plan Review

      When a project is assigned to a Department reviewer, it will be reviewed on a technical and administrative basis. The administrative review will involve insuring the Bureau coordinates with the appropriate entities and that permitting capacity exists in the receiving treatment plant.

      Also, the Bureau will insure proper ownership and operation and maintenance of the collection system. Collection lines serving more than one parcel of deeded property should not be owned by individuals. For this situation, the collection system must normally be owned by the public entity or the private utility that is providing sewer service to the project.

      For projects tying onto an existing treatment facility, a review of the Bureau's treatment plant files will be conducted to see if any problems exist or if any type of enforcement action has been or will be taken that will prevent the issuance of a construction permit. In some cases, a tap moratorium has been issued to a facility. If the receiving treatment plant has violations of its effluent disposal permit or enforcement action has been or will be taken against the receiving collection system or treatment plant, a construction permit might not be issued. The decision on the issuance of the construction permit will be made based on the severity of the problems.

      DHEC maintains a tracking system of permits issued to treatment facilities to determine when the facility has had the maximum number of permits issued. Permits may be denied if the facility doesn't have enough permitting capacity.

      The technical review will be conducted using the requirements of Regulation 61-67 and other standard reference books commonly used in the field of wastewater collection and treatment as appropriate.

    4. Construction Permit Issuance

      If the project is tying onto either an existing treatment plant that must expand to provide capacity to the project or a proposed treatment plant, the permit to construct will be issued after both the effluent disposal permit and the construction permit for the treatment plant expansion or the proposed treatment plant are issued.

      If the project is tying onto an off-site sewer that is proposed, the construction permit will be issued after a construction permit for the off-site sewer is issued. Also, the construction permit for the on-site sewer will have a special condition that it cannot be given final approval to be placed in operation until the off-site sewer has been granted operational approval.

      When the project meets all administrative and technical requirements, a construction permit will be issued. The original permit will be sent to the project owner and a copy will be sent to the consulting engineer.

      The construction permit will have two expiration dates. The first date will be the expiration date if construction does not start by the specified date. Normally, this date will be two years after the date of issuance. The second expiration date will be the expiration date if construction is not completed by the specified date. Normally, this date will be three years from the date of issuance.

    5. Extension of a Construction Permit

      If a construction permit expires or is within thirty (30) days of expiring, the consulting engineer can request an extension of the permit. This request should be made in writing with a copy of the construction permit attached. The request should be addressed to the appropriate Section Manager. If a permit expires after an extension is granted, future requests for extensions should include a copy of the permit and a copy of each Bureau extension letter. DHEC reserves the right, when a lengthy time period has expired, to require a new application submittal and fee.

      Upon receipt of a permit extension request, the Bureau will review the project file to decide if an extension can be granted. Also, comments from the appropriate EQC Regional Office may be requested. If no problems exist, an extension of the permit will be granted. Normally, the extension will be for one year from the date of the extension letter. If the Bureau denies a request for a construction permit extension, the consulting engineer will be advised of the course of action to be followed.

    6. Modifications to Approved Plans

      Depending on the significance of the modification request, a new submittal (and permit application fee) may be required. If significant, modifications to the plans and specifications after a construction permit is issued will be handled as a new submittal. A complete administrative package must be submitted. The administrative review process for modified plans and specifications will be essentially the same process as given in the sections entitled "Administrative Processing" and "Plan Review." However, there will normally be no coordination with the COGs, OCRM, etc. on the review and approval of modified plans.

    Operational Approval

    1. Construction

      After the Bureau issues the construction permit, the project can be built. The consulting engineer will perform construction inspections as required by the application for permit to construct. Also, DHEC may perform construction inspections.

    2. Authorization to Place the System into Service

      When construction is complete, the consulting engineer will send a letter to the appropriate Regional Office of EQC certifying the project is built according to the permitted plans and specifications. Also, additional items may need to accompany the letter of construction certification such as:

      1. A copy of the record drawings.

      2. A letter of final acceptance for ownership, operation and maintenance of the system from the appropriate entity.

      3. When applicable, a letter from OCRM stating their certification requirements have been met.

      4. For pump stations, the pump test results.

      Contact the applicable EQC Regional Office to obtain specific details on a submission package.

    3. As-built Plans

      If construction is not according to the approved plans and specifications but the changes are acceptable to the consulting engineer, as-built plans must be submitted to the appropriate Section for review and approval. The submittal package for as-built plans must include the following:

      1. A transmittal letter outlining the submittal. This letter must reference the project by the name (as shown on the construction permit), county, and construction permit number. It also must list the changes to the approved plans.

      2. Two (2) sets of the as-built plans and, if necessary, specifications.

      This submittal package must be mailed to the appropriate Section Manager. The administrative review process for as-built plans and specifications will be essentially the same process as given in the sections entitled "Administrative Processing" and "Plan Review." However, there will normally be no coordination with the COGs, OCRM, etc. on the review and approval of as-built plans, unless a new permit is required based on the changes being significant.

      After approval of the as-built plans, the consulting engineer will send a letter to the appropriate Regional Office certifying the project is built according to the approved as-built plans and specifications. The procedures given in the section entitled "Authorization to Place the System into Service" will be followed for granting authorization to place the lines into service.

      If the Bureau does not approve the as-built plans, the project must be rebuilt according to the approved plans and specifications. After the contractor rebuilds the project according to the approved plans and specifications, the consulting engineer will send a letter to the appropriate Regional Office certifying the project is built according to the approved plans and specifications. The procedures given in the section entitled "Authorization to Place the System into Service" will be followed for issuance of the final approval to operate.


Bureau of Water . Phone: (803) 898-4300 . Fax: (803) 898-3795 . Contact Us