DHEC Programs & Divisions

A - Z

Accidental Release Prevention Program

We implement the Clean Air Act Section 112(r) Accidental Release Prevention Program for all affected sources. We conduct site inspections and audits to determine compliance with the risk management program requirements.

Acute Disease Epidemiology

We detect and control communicable diseases and other public health crises by:

  • Maintaining and optimizing surveillance systems
  • Monitoring and investigating reportable conditions
  • Supplying data and providing guidance about communicable disease control and prevention
  • Supporting and collaborating with DHEC's Public Health regional staff and healthcare providers
  • Enhancing capacity to respond to issues of public health importance
  • Conveying information effectively to our partners

Agricultural Permitting Program

We are responsible for issuing agricultural facility permits to most commercial animal growing operations for the handling, storage, treatment (if necessary), and disposal of the manure, litter, and dead animals generated at their facilities. Other agricultural activities such as peach packing, stock yards, slaughter houses, and meat markets may also be required to have agricultural permits depending upon their specific situation.

Air Permitting and Pollutants

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to establish health and science-based standards for air pollutants that have the highest levels of potential harm to human health or the environment. These National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are in place for six air pollutants, also referred to as criteria pollutants .

We issue construction and operating permits to industrial sources that use or store a material with a potential to emit air pollutants into the air we breathe. These permits are required by federal and state laws and regulations.

Air Quality Initiatives (Spare the Air Programs) 

We provide awareness, outreach, and educational programs that support the Bureau of Air Quality's mission to conserve air resources that enhance quality of life. We also work with communities to establish local partnerships, promote events, and implement voluntary air pollution reduction strategies throughout the state. In addition, we administer the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Grants program and the state radon program. 

Ambient Air Monitoring Network

We have developed a web application to assist the public in understanding air quality monitoring issues. This tool shows the location of air quality monitoring stations in South Carolina, the parameters measured at each location with the site descriptions and historical graphs of the concentrations of major pollutants.

Arthritis Prevention and Control

We promote education, screenings and physical activity to prevent, diagnose and manage arthritis. We also produce and share data and reports about arthritis in South Carolina.


Renovation and demolition of most facilities (including buildings, structures, and other installations) are subject to State and Federal asbestos regulations. We issue permits for those regulated activities . We also license all contractors, facilities, supervisors, workers, air samplers, project designers, building inspectors, and management planners involved in either the inspection, design, air monitoring, in-place management, removal, cleanup, or other handling of regulated asbestos-containing materials.

Beach Monitoring Program

DHEC staff, in accordance withfederal USEPA standards, routinely collects water samples at over 120 locations on South Carolina's beaches. Advisories are issued if high bacteria levels are found. Check for current advisories .

Best Chance Network

We provide free breast and cervical cancer screenings to women who are 47-64 years old, have no insurance, and meet certain income guidelines .
Services include:

  • Mammograms
  • Clinical breast exams
  • Pap tests
  • Pelvic exams
  • Diagnostic procedures
  • Case management
  • Community education on breast/cervical cancer and early detection

Birth Control/Family Planning

Do you want to prevent pregnancy or plan future pregnancies? We provide reproductive health services which includes birth control, information and counseling to help you plan and time pregnancies, health exams and needed lab tests. All services are confidential, meaning we promise to protect your identity.

Birth Defects Program

We provide statewide surveillance of nine categories of major structural birth defects - central nervous system, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, orofacial, genitourinary, eye, ear, gastrointestinal and chromosomal anomalies. The CDC and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network recommend these categories for monitoring.
We monitor birth defects identified prenatally through age two to:

  • Determine birth defect rates and trends
  • Promote effective referral of infants and families for services and care
  • Develop public health strategies to help prevent birth defects
  • Conduct research on birth defect causes, distribution and prevention

Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program

The Brownfields component of the Voluntary Cleanup Program allows a non-responsible party to acquire a contaminated property with State Superfund liability protection for existing contamination by agreeing to perform an environmental assessment and/or remediation. The amount of environmental work is site specific and dependent on the intended future use of the site. Our goal is to facilitate redevelopment of a property that hopefully will create new jobs and boost our economy, while protecting human health and the environment.

Care Line

We are a referral service for healthcare or other important services. Call us toll-free at 1-855-472-3432. We can help point you in the right direction!

Champions of the Environment

This partnership program has been rewarding environmental action and awareness in South Carolina's kindergarten through twelfth-grade students and teachers since 1993.

The goal of Champions of the Environment is to help students do their part for the environment. Champions of the Environment awards up to eight $2,000 grants to South Carolina students and teachers each school year. Smaller Merit and Seedling awards are available for runner-up projects.

Children/Teens with Special Health Care Needs

Does your child have a chronic illness, disabling condition or developmental delay? If so, we can see if your child qualifies to get the special healthcare services he or she needs. We may be able to help you pay for certain services. Your child must be under 18 years of age to apply.

Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Evaluation

We collect, analyze, interpret and present health data related to chronic conditions such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and their risk factors.

Dams and Reservoirs Safety Program

We issue permits to construct, alter, repair, or remove most dams in SC. Dams that are either twenty five feet or more in height or impound (hold back) 50 acre feet or more are regulated by DHEC unless exempted by state law.

Diabetes and Heart Disease Management and Prevention

The Division supports state investments in implementing and evaluating evidence-based strategies to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease and diabetes in high-burden populations. Strategies focus on diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia diagnosis and management, and type 2 diabetes prevention in rural communities and among disparate population groups. The division is designing, testing and evaluating novel approaches to address evidence-based strategies aimed at reducing risk, complications, and barriers to prevention and control of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in high burden populations.

Drinking Water Program

Safe public drinking water in South Carolina is accomplished through a "multiple barrier" approach. Tools utilized in this approach include source water protection, certified water treatment plant operators, permitting, routine sanitary surveys, monitoring, treatment design and plan review.

Drug Control

DHEC's Bureau of Drug Control works to decrease the diversion of controlled substances from legal sources by maintaining a closed system of distribution and continually monitoring distribution of prescription drugs. We enforce the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act .

Dry Cleaning Restoration Program

We are responsible for administering South Carolina's Drycleaning Facility Restoration Trust Fund by using funds to assess, prioritize, and clean up registered dry-cleaning sites that are polluted within the state. The program operates on fees and taxes collected from dry cleaning facilities.

South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program

The South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP) is a voluntary program for companies committed to continuous environmental improvement in order to protect and preserve South Carolina's environment. Any South Carolina organization, company or facility committed to reducing its waste streams through pollution prevention activities, and/or through reducing energy or other resource consumption with the goal of improving South Carolina's environment is eligible to participate.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Program

DHEC's EMS program is responsible for developing and enforcing all of the standards and regulations necessary for the improvement of emergency medical services in South Carolina.

Environmental Laboratory Certification

South Carolina Regulation 61-81 gives the Office of Environmental Laboratory Certification authority to issue certification to laboratories analyzing regulatory compliance samples for reporting to DHEC .

First Sound

We receive infant hearing screening results from S.C. screening hospitals - hospitals that birth 100+ babies per year. We help families make follow up appointments with audiologists (hearing specialists) if their infant doesn't pass the hospital screening. If an infant is diagnosed with a confirmed hearing loss, we make referrals to BabyNet - South Carolina's system of services for infants and toddlers birth to three years of age who have developmental delays or have conditions associated with developmental delays.

Food Safety

We inspect and permit food businesses - restaurants, mobile food carts, caterers, etc. We do this to help keep food safe and to keep you informed about inspection ratings - A, B, C - when eating out. We also provide educational information for home cooks. Topics include preparing meat, eggs, and fish safely, shelf life of foods in the fridge, what to do during a boil water emergency, and using special care when cooking outdoors -grilling, tailgating and picnics.

South Carolina Green Guide

Our S.C. Green Guide offers you environmentally friendly tips to help you conserve, protect and go green!

Hazardous Waste Program

We permit active hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, guide clean-up actions for thousands of waste management units, maintain registration of hazardous waste generators in South Carolina and issue transporter permits for hazardous waste transported within the state.

Health Licensing

The Division of Health Licensing has the ultimate goal of ensuring that individuals receiving care and services from healthcare activities licensed by DHEC are provided appropriate care and services in a manner and, in an environment that promotes their health, safety, and well-being. We inspect and investigate healthcare activities, provide consultations as needed, and recommend enforcement actions as deemed appropriate.


Wondering which shots your child will need to attend day care or school? We'll tell you which ones are needed and make sure your child gets the required shots. We also provide immunizations for adults, including shots for:

  • Flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Tetanus/whooping cough (pertussis); Also called Td and Tdap vaccine

Infectious Waste Program

We regulate infectious waste treatment facilities and generators and transporters of infectious waste in South Carolina. Any person or company that generates or transports infectious waste in South Carolina must be registered.

Injury And Violence Prevention

  • Child Passenger Safety - provides education and instruction to parents and caregivers on the proper use and installation of child passenger seats and assists at car safety seat check-up events.
  • SC Violent Death Reporting System - supports self-harm and violent death prevention efforts of state and national partners by collecting and analyzing violent death information to determine circumstances that contribute to suicide, homicide, and accidental firearm deaths within the state.
  • SC State Child Fatality - works with and provides support to the SC State Child Fatality Advisory Committee to produce the Annual SC Child Fatalities report while creating and maintaining partnerships with local and national partners.

Mining and Reclamation Program

There are about 500 active mine operating permits in South Carolina. We issue 2 types of mining permits and a mineral exploration certificate.

Minority Health

We focus on improving the health status of all minorities through education and empowerment. We develop programs, partnerships and policies. We also encourage community involvement so local needs can be meet where people work, live and play.

Newborn Screening

Newborn screening is a series of tests that check for more than 50 hidden health disorders in newborn babies. All babies are tested soon after birth. Most tests are done on a small sample of baby's blood. This blood is taken by pricking baby's heel. The blood is sent to DHEC Public Health Laboratory for testing. If a problem is discovered, early treatment can give baby the best chance for a healthy life.

Non-Point Source Pollution (Stormwater)

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), polluted runoff, or nonpoint source pollution (NPS), is the number one contributor to water pollution nationwide. There is also a competitive grant process for stakeholder groups, government entities, or other agencies interested in conducting projects that reduce or prevent NPS water pollution.

Nurse-Family Partnership

If you're a first time mom, you can arrange to have a registered nurse visit you in your home throughout your pregnancy and up until your baby is 2 years old. Our nurse will provide you education, help you set goals, continue your education, develop job skills, and find support services in the community.

Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

We are charged to lead South Carolina's healthy eating and active living policy, systems, and environmental approaches to reduce obesity and obesity-related chronic conditions. Environmental and systems approaches have broad, population-based reach, provide sustained health impact, and are best and promising practices for public health. We work with partners at the state and local level providing content expertise and technical assistance on environmental and systems approaches to support healthy eating, active living, and obesity prevention.

Ocean and Coastal Resource Management

We protect and enhance the state's coastal resources by preserving sensitive and fragile areas while promoting responsible development in the eight coastal counties of South Carolina. We manage wetland alterations, stormwater and land disturbance activities. We certify all federal and state permits and direct federal actions and all alterations of tidally influenced critical area lands, waters and beaches. We preserve sensitive natural, historic and cultural resources through regulatory oversight and guidance. We provide technical expertise to resolve complex coastal management issues. And we encourage low impact and alternative development to preserve water quality and environmental integrity.

Open Burning

Open burning is both illegal and harmful to air quality. State and local laws, regulations, and ordinances restrict and often ban open burning activities. What can you burn legally?

Oral Health

We strive to ensure that all men and women, children and youth, including those with special health care needs, enjoy optimal oral health as part of total well-being.
We work with others to ensure:

  • Prevention and education are priorities.
  • Treatment is available, accessible, affordable, timely and culturally competent.
  • Responsibility is shared among patients, parents, providers, employers and insurers.
  • Collaboration by government, higher education and the private sector ensures resources, quality and patient protection.

Ozone Forecasting

Due to the health effects of ground-level ozone, we provide the service of forecasting ozone concentrations to warn the public of unhealthy air and to encourage people to avoid exposure to unhealthy air and voluntarily reduce emissions.

Permit Central

If your new business or expansion could have an impact on public health or the environment in South Carolina, chances are, you'll need a permit from DHEC. Our Permit Central Team can help you develop a coordinated roadmap and realistic schedule.

Postpartum Newborn Home Visits

If you're a Medicaid-eligible mom with a new baby and your doctor would like us to visit you, our nurse can see visit you one to two times. The nurse will check your baby to make sure he/she is growing well and hasn't developed any problems since leaving the hospital. The nurse will also make sure you are doing well after having a baby.

Pregnancy Testing

Think you might be pregnant? We can do a pregnancy test. If it turns out that you are pregnant, we will help you find out if you face any special pregnancy health risks. We can also refer you to a prenatal doctor and other medical services.

Schedule an appointment today at your local Family Planning Clinic. To find a clinic near you, use our Family Planning Clinic Locator or call (855) 472-3432.

Private Well Program

State regulation requires that the Department be notified of a private drinking water well or irrigation well before installation. Private drinking water wells are also called residential wells or domestic wells.

Public Health Nutrition

We promote healthy lifestyles through nutrition education, training and consulting and by developing resources. We set nutrition standards and evaluate their impact.

Public Water Systems

Safe public drinking water in South Carolina is accomplished through a "multiple barrier" approach. Tools utilized in this approach include source water protection, certified water treatment plant operators, routine sanitary surveys, monitoring, treatment design and plan review.


Rabies ( Lyssavirus ) is a deadly animal virus that attacks nerves in the spinal cord and brain. The virus can be passed to a healthy animal or a person if saliva from an animal with late-stage rabies gets into a wound or cut. Our website provides information about dealing with bites and exposures and what you can do to prevent rabies. Information for healthcare providers and veterinarians can also be found on our website.

Radioactive Waste Program

We regulate the transportation of radioactive waste into and within South Carolina and license facilities that process and transport radioactive waste. We also regulate the Barnwell low-level radioactive waste disposal facility (also known as the Chem-Nuclear Site.)

Recreational Waters Program

The Recreational Waters program performs routine inspections and provides technical assistance to public swimming facilities located throughout the state. This includes swimming pools and spas, as well as natural swimming areas.

Septic Tanks

More than 1 million households in South Carolina use septic tanks to manage their household wastewater and sewage. Find out what is needed to apply for a permit, tips for how to maintain and keep your system operating properly, and how to address problems with your system.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Are you worried you may have a sexually transmitted infection? We can test for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia. If we find that you do have an STD, we can give you medicines to treat it, and we will refer you to additional healthcare services if needed.

We can also give you information to help you protect yourself and your partner from STDs in the future. All services are confidential, meaning we promise to protect your identity. In some cases we may need to notify your partner(s) that they may have been exposed to an STD so that they can get medical care, but we will not use your name.

Sexual Violence Services Program

We administer contracts, provide technical assistance and work collaboratively with the state's rape crisis centers and the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault . We monitor state and federal funds earmarked for sexual violence services.

Shellfish Program

The primary goal of the Shellfish Sanitation Program is to ensure that shellfish (oysters, clams, and mussels) and the areas from which they are harvested meet the health and environmental quality standards provided by federal guidelines and state regulations.

Social Work

We are responsible for planning, developing, administering, managing and implementing social work services within the public health system.We set and assure social work standards of practice.


  • Promote and protect the public's health,
  • Strengthen the abilities of individuals, families and communities to resolve or reduce social, emotional, psychological and environmental risk factors, and
  • Promote self-sufficiency.

Solid Waste Permitting

We regulate the disposal of solid waste in South Carolina. This includes waste tires, used oil, land clearing debris, construction and demolition debris, municipal and industrial solid waste and structural fill. We also regulate landfills, chipping and composting facilities, solid waste processing facilities, solid waste transfer facilities, solid waste incineration facilities and others.

Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling

We provide technical assistance and education/awareness programs to local governments, schools and the public regarding solid waste and recycling issues. The Office also offers several grant programs to local governments, schools and colleges/universities. The office has no regulatory, compliance or enforcement role.

State Revolving Loan Fund Program

The State Revolving Fund (SRF) program provides low-interest rate loans for building or repair to wastewater and drinking water plants or distribution systems and stormwater quality improvement projects. The program is run by DHEC and the Rural Infrastructure Authority - Office of Local Government (RIA-OLG).

Stormwater Program

During a storm event, rainfall is either absorbed into the ground or it flows across the surface of the ground towards a downstream point once the ground becomes saturated with water. The rainfall that does not perculate into the ground and flows across surfaces to a downstream point is commonly referred to as stormwater runoff.

Learn more about these DHEC stormwater permits and activities:

Superfund Program

Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. We're committed to ensuring that remaining National Priorities List hazardous waste sites are cleaned up to protect the environment and the health of all Americans.

Tobacco Prevention and Control

We help ease the toll tobacco use takes on South Carolinians by addressing four major areas:

  • Quitting Tobacco Use
  • Eliminating Second-hand Smoke Exposure
  • Preventing Youth Use
  • Addressing Health Disparities

TB (Tuberculosis) Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with TB, we will give you medicines to help treat it. We will also help you get any other medical services you may need. Since TB is very easily passed from person to person, we'll also try to find out how you were exposed to it. We'll try to locate anyone else who may have been exposed to it so we can encourage them to get medical care as well. This will help limit the spread of TB.

Teen Services at Teen Clinics

If you're a teen in need of birth control, an STD test, a pregnancy test, or an exam, you may be more comfortable being seen at one of our teen only clinics. Our teen clinics are friendly and provide you with education and counseling to make good reproductive health decisions. All of our clinics (teen and regular clinics) are confidential - which means we don't share information about you or your visit with anyone. Our teen clinics serve both females and males.

Underground Storage Tank Program

We regulate underground storage tanks (USTs) for the entire life of a tank system. This includes the planning, compliance, permitting, enforcement and remediation efforts of underground storage tanks throughout the state. We provide technical oversight on all releases that occur from USTs as well as a Site Rehabilitation Contractor Certification Program .

Vital Records

We provide and maintain birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates.
A long form birth certificate, including parents' information, can be obtained from the main DHEC office, located at 2600 Bull Street Columbia, S.C. 29201. County offices provide the short form birth certificate.

Wastewater Permitting

Discharges from point sources such as municipal and industrial wastewater treatment systems to surface waters are required to have National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

WIC (Women, Infants and Children)

Are you pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding or the mother of children under 5? If you meet our income guidelines, you may qualify for WIC. WIC provides food products, health screenings, and health information for women, infants and children 5 years of age or younger.

Division of Women's Health

Our mission is to promote and protect the health of women, men and adolescents through the provision of personal and preventive clinical and supportive services. We manage the following programs:

  • Adolescent Health: We provide leadership and advocacy for adolescent health and youth development.
  • Family Planning : We provide clinical and educational services to prevent unintended pregnancies
  • Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP): We fund evidence-based programs to educate adolescents on both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
  • Sexual Violence Services: We administer contracts, provide technical assistance, and work collaboratively with the state's rape crisis centers and the SC Coalition against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA).
  • Women's Health: We work to improve the health status of women in South Carolina across the lifespan.

You Hold the Key, SC!

We provide resources for you to learn about how you can reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and mobile source emissions during your daily commute, as well as improving air quality in our state.


Career of Service DHEC Programs & Divisions