When amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA) were passed in the 1970s, legislators included provisions in section 208 that required states to develop and implement regional wastewater management plans.
In South Carolina, DHEC carries out these requirements by:
- Documenting current and future wastewater infrastructure needs
- Outlining policies that guide the wastewater infrastructure permitting process
- Providing administrative procedures to document plan modifications and allow for transparency and public involvement.
DHEC serves as the planning agency for this effort for 22 "non-designated" counties. In addition, these six Councils of Governments (COGs) serve as planning agencies for 24 of South Carolina's counties:
- Appalachian Council of Governments
- Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments
- Central Midlands Council of Governments
- Lowcountry Council of Governments
- Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments
- Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments
208 Plan for 22 Non-Designated Counties (Areas Where DHEC Oversees Wastewater Planning)
The 208 Water Quality Management Plan for the Non-designated Areas of South Carolina (208 Plan) is the guiding document in the 22 counties where DHEC is responsible for wastewater planning. It details wastewater management policies and lists the management agencies in each county that are responsible for and legally capable of carrying out those policies. A large portion of the 208 Plan is dedicated to the identification of each management agency and its respective management boundary.
The current plan was updated in 2011, replacing the 1997 plan.
Wastewater projects are reviewed to determine whether or not they conflict with the applicable 208 Plan. The designated planning agency for the county where a project will take place conducts the conformance review. The six regional planning agencies make recommendations to DHEC on whether or not to permit a particular project based on these reviews.
Permits cannot be issued for wastewater projects that conflict with the applicable 208 Plan. In cases of conflict, either the project or the Plan must be amended for the process to proceed.
Projects that must be reviewed include those for new and renewed NPDES discharges, land application, domestic and industrial wastewater construction as well as for community septic systems serving multiple properties. Preliminary Engineering Reports and facilities plans for projects applying for State Revolving Fund loans must also be reviewed for conformance.
For questions about conformance reviews, please contact the planning agency for your county.
Management Agency Designation
Management agencies are designated to carry out water quality management plans. They are responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities and have the legal authorities necessary to implement the plans.
All incorporated municipalities, counties and special purpose districts in South Carolina are legally capable of performing the duties of a designated management agency. Each management agency agrees to accept certain responsibilities, usually by signing a Willingness and Implementation Statement.
Eligible entities may request to become a management agency by mailing a signed willingness and implementation statement to:
Note that there is no requirement that a management agency own or operate a wastewater treatment facility or collection system. However, privately owned wastewater providers are not eligible.