Environmental Affairs & COVID-19

While our Public Health officials have been focused on many aspects of COVID-19, Environmental Affairs staff has continued to communicate with our stakeholders. On this page you will find regulatory assistance information, information on re-opening businesses in South Carolina, and guidance on how to start a COVID community coalition. Click below to jump directly to a section.

 


Regulatory Assistance

DHEC continues to work with federal, state and local partners as it investigates COVID-19 cases in South Carolina. While we remain committed to protecting the safety and health of the public during this national and state emergency, DHEC's Environmental Affairs staff have also been focused on actions we can take to assist our business partners during this unprecedented time of impact and uncertainty.

Regulated entities should remain diligent in taking safe best efforts to maintain compliance. However, in the event that non-compliance is unavoidable directly due to impact from COVID-19 and/or related legal restrictions (federal/state/local declarations or orders), we are prepared to address such issues.

Requests for regulatory relief consideration due to the COVID-19 should be directed to environmentalcompliance@dhec.sc.gov. A staff member with the appropriate program area will follow up with you no later than the end of the next business day. 

Federal Guidance

DHEC appreciates EPA’s effort to provide some assurance to the regulated community during an unprecedented and uncertain time. EPA’s clarity regarding unavoidable and inevitable compliance issues is consistent with what DHEC believes is the right thing to do. DHEC will provide guidance and assurance that is consistent with EPA’s, while offering further relief from state obligations whenever possible.

COVID-19 Implications for EPA's Enforcement Assurance Program

Water Regulatory Relief

  • The due date for all NPDES/ND wastewater permits (including renewal applications, required testing and reports) to be submitted electronically is December 22, 2022.  However, we are encouraging electronic submittals now to avoid the last minute rush in December 2022.  
  • Signed ePermitting Certifier Agreements for NPDES/ND facilities can be submitted via email (followed-up by a hard copy with a wet-ink signature). 
  • The Stormwater Permitting Program is allowing for email submittals of NOIs for coverage under the NPDES Construction General Permit 

Re-opening Guidelines

As we re-open businesses and employees report back to work, it is more important than ever for each individual to follow the basic guidance:

COVID Prevention Icons

  • Stay home when you are sick 
  • Wear face coverings 
  • Social distance at 6 feet when possible 
  • Frequently wash your hands 
  • Clean/disinfect high touch surfaces 
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze 

Visit the AccelerateSC webpage for industry-specific suggestions of ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in various settings. We also celebrate best practices known to us. If you have questions or would like to share creative ways in which you have minimized the spread, please let us know by emailing reopeningguidance@dhec.sc.gov.

General Resources

 accelerateSC - Business Resources
CDC - Reopening America Guidance CDC - Interim Guidance for Businesses & Employers DHEC - Employer Return to Work Guidance DHEC - Interim Guidance for COVID-19 Scenarios in Businesses


COVID Community Coalition & Testing

Throughout South Carolina, we are finding that community spread is affecting businesses. Businesses are stepping up to protect their employees outside of work by working with other community leaders to address the spread of COVID-19.    

The COVID Community Coalition initiative is focused on encouraging the creation of local coalitions to empower communities so they can implement local solutions to this global pandemic.   
 
What are the goals of a COVID Community Coalition?  

  • Develop local awareness and recognition of behavior changes that can slow down the spread of coronavirus in local communities; 
  • Share data and resources for informed decision-making; and    
  • Encourage and empower coalition members to put ideas in action
  • Sponsor, provide location for or assist with DHEC Community testing in your area.

The goal of Public Health is to intervene and disrupt the chain of events between potential for exposure and onset of disease. Currently there are three ways we can do that for COVID-19:

  1. Wear masks, Wash hands and Watch to keep 6 feet of social distancing;
  2. Isolating or staying home when you are sick; and
  3. Quarantining if you have been designated as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 (Close contact is defined as having been closer than 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes, either cumulatively or in the course of a day.)

Testing is important as it is the only way to identify asymptomatic individuals so that they can isolate and not spread the virus to others. DHEC is seeking additional community testing locations. If you have suggestions, please send them to COVIDCommunityCoalition@dhec.sc.gov.

Individuals, businesses and local governments have the collective power to change this course by the simple act of following the basic guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you have questions about creating or working with a coalition in your community, please reach out to us at COVIDCommunityCoalition@dhec.sc.gov


Environmental COVID-19 Guidance

Additional Resources

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