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Environmental Health Services

Emergency Response

To report chemical spills, oil spills, or fish kills, call our
toll-free 24-hour emergency response line at 1-888-481-0125
  • Local response organizations (police, fire, and EMS) are not required to report oil or hazardous material releases to DHEC (unless they are the spiller/responsible party).
  • HOWEVER - you are usually the first ones to find an oil or HAZMAT incident. Since you are the first responder to these type incidents, your notification to DHEC is GREATLY appreciated and helpful. Your notification to DHEC, even though it is voluntary, greatly reduces the response times for DHEC Emergency Response staff both from the local and central offices.
  • Additionally, if you (as a first responder) need chemical and/or technical assistance during a HAZMAT or oil spill incident, please feel free to call the reporting number shown above. The Emergency Response Section (ERS) can offer assistance via telephone or by an actual response to the scene.
  • Any and all oil or HAZMAT incidents reported to the ERS is appreciated.

The general public is invited to notify the Emergency Response Section (ERS) of any actual or possible release of pollutants into the environment of the State. The ERS will respond verbally to all notifications from the public that involve, in part, the following type of incidents:

  • dumping, spills and releases of hazardous substances, including but not limited to oil and petroleum products, chemicals, hazardous waste, waste oil, pesticides, and other pollutants
  • fish kills or pfiesteria-related calls
  • illegal open burning of items such as tires, plastic, copper wire, and asbestos covered materials (open burning of land clearing and/or yard debris DOES NOT constitute an emergency and should be reported to the local DHEC EQC office on the next business day).

ERS responds statewide to assist the eight DHEC Environmental Quality Control (EQC) Emergency Response Teams. All ERS members in the Central Office (Headquarters) have many hours of specialized training in the various aspects of oil and hazardous materials emergency response/remediation. Additionally, each ERS Staff member has additional specialist duties.

All DHEC ERS and Regional response staff have been trained in the Incident Command System and operate within a Unified Command structure that is consistent with National Incident Management System. The ERS operates within the guidelines and procedures as outlined in the Emergency Response Program Procedures Manual, The State of South Carolina Contingency Plan for Spills and Releases of Oil & Hazardous Substances, and the State Emergency Operations Plan.

The Department's response to oil and hazardous materials spills and releases is mandated and guided by the S.C. Pollution Control Act, Hazardous Waste Management Act, Oil and Gas Act, among others. Under the Federal Clean Water Act, the Department serves as a member of the Federal Regional Response Team. For inland planning and response, the Department coordinates with the USEPA in implementing the NCP and the Area Plan. In the coastal area, the Department ensures that state interests and concerns are addressed and cooperates with the U.S. Coast Guard, who is designated federal on-scene coordinator, in implementing the National Contingency Plan and the Area Plans.

The ERS offers the following as an example:

  • provide air monitoring with flame and photo ionization instrumentation, combustible gas indicators, colormetric indicating tubes;
  • provide chemical air dispersion modeling;
  • emergency response guidance;
  • provide chemical/petroleum response specialist;
  • spill mitigation;
  • "hot zone" entry to recon and sample (air, soil, liquids).

One of the most important resources that the Emergency Response Program provides is our regulatory authority over the responsible party. The program makes sure the spiller is identified and responds appropriately to the spill/release and follows through with an appropriate cleanup. The program works with the spiller (Responsible Party) and offers guidance and oversight to make sure enough and proper equipment/manpower and cleanup capability is being provided at the scene.

Cleanup Contractors and Vendors

If you would like your company to appear on the contractor list, please fill out the downloadable form and email it to Elizabeth Shawanesse ( If you have trouble with it, you may complete the printable form and mail or fax it.

Cleanup Contractor and Vendor Survey Form

Downloadable Contractor Form - Please download this form, save it with your company's name, fill it out and send it as an email attachment to Elizabeth Shawanesse (

  • Mail or fax the form to:

    SCDHEC - Emergency Response Section
    Attn: Elizabeth Shawanesse
    2600 Bull St.
    Columbia, SC 29201
    Fax: (803) 896-4102

EPA Oil Spill Guidance Including EPA SPCC

Oil & Gas Act Terminal Facility Registration

SC Contingency Plan For Spills and Releases of Oil & Hazardous Substances