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Drinking Water - Bottled Water Sources & Facilities

In South Carolina, sources and treatment facilities used for the bottling of drinking water are considered public water systems and as such, must comply with the requirements of the State Primary Drinking Water Regulations (SPDWR).

After construction has been completed on the source and treatment facilities, the applicant must obtain approval from DHEC prior to beginning operation. Please refer below for more information concerning the permitting process for source and treatment facilities and the approval process to place such facilities into operation.

The applicant must also obtain a permit to operate the bottling operation of a facility from the Division of Dairy Foods and Soft Drink Protection of DHEC.  For more information on how to obtain the necessary permits for the bottling operation, the applicant should contact the Division of Dairy Foods and Soft Drink Protection.

In addition to the above permitting requirements, the applicant must also comply with laws and regulations concerning the labeling of bottled water.  For information concerning the requirements for the labeling of bottled water, the applicant should contact the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

    Carol P. Fulmer
    Consumer Services
    SC Department of Agriculture
    P.O. Box 11280
    Columbia, SC 29211
    Telephone: 803- 737-9690 [803-737-9703, fax]

Permitting of the Source

If the applicant wishes to develop a new source (i.e., well or spring water collection system), an application for the construction of the source must be submitted to the Water Facilities Permitting Division.  The application must be accompanied by engineering plans and specifications prepared by a South Carolina registered professional  engineer, which shall carry his/her official seal and signature.

If the source is a well, this construction phase of the project will involve the drilling of the well, the development of the well, conducting a pumping test in accordance with Regulation 61-58.2(B)(12) and testing the water quality in accordance with Regulation 61-58.2(B)(14).

If the source is a spring, DHEC recommends that the applicant first conduct a chemical analysis of the water for all contaminants listed in Regulation 61-58.5 of the SPDWR.  Bacteriological analyses are not required since it can be assumed that all open springs are considered to be contaminated with microbes.  This chemical analysis is recommended because DHEC has found that some springs receive water from very shallow water table aquifers which have been contaminated through the use of pesticides. If the chemical sampling of the spring indicates the chemical quality of the water is satisfactory, the applicant must retain the services of a professional engineer to design a collection system which will protect the source from surface water runoff.

The engineering plans and specifications for the collection system must be submitted along with a completed application form for a permit to construct to the Water Facilities Permitting Division.  Following the issuance of a permit to construct the spring water collection system, the applicant can then construct the facility under the supervision of the professional engineer.  Following the construction of the collection facility, bacteriological and microscopic particulate analyses must be conducted on the water to determine if the spring is under the direct influence of surface water.  The yield of the spring must also be determined.

If an existing well is proposed to be used as a source of water for the bottling operation, and the well has not been previously approved by DHEC as a source for a public water system, the applicant must submit any known construction information to the Water Facilities Permitting Division for evaluation.  If the well cannot be upgraded to meet the requirements of the SPDWR, including grouting requirements, the well may not be used.  However, if the well can be upgraded, the application for a permit to construct the pumping, storage and treatment facilities must include plans and specifications for the upgrade along with the results of a pumping test and water quality analyses.

If the bottling operation is to obtain its water from an existing public water system, the applicant will skip this step of the permitting process and submit an application for a permit to construct the treatment facility.

Permitting of the Pumping, Storage and Treatment Facilities

The next step in the permitting process involves the permitting of the necessary pumping equipment, treatment and any associated piping and storage facilities.  A second application must be made for a permit to construct these facilities.  This application must include a completed well record form (if applicable), the necessary plans, specifications and calculations for the proposed facilities along with the results of  the pumping test (well) and water quality analyses.

Approval to Place Facilities into Operation.

Newly constructed facilities may not be placed into operation until operational approval is obtained from DHEC.  To obtain this approval, the professional engineer for the project must submit  a letter certifying that the construction is completed and in accordance with the approved plans and specifications, and make arrangements for a final inspection.  If the project was not completed in accordance with the approved plans and specifications, the professional engineer must state so and outline any deviations from the permitted project.  The engineer must also include with this letter, the applicable information outlined in Regulation 61-58.1K of the SPDWR.  The certification letter along with all required information must be submitted prior to any final inspection by DHEC. 

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