South Carolina Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (S.C. SBEAP) 

A free, nonregulatory service of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Many small business owners may not fully understand environmental regulations and may not have the resources to hire an environmental consultant to determine if their business operation requires an environmental permit. The South Carolina Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SC SBEAP) is available to help determine if your business may require this type of permit through technical assistance, education, outreach, and advocacy at no cost to the business.

The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program is part of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. S.C. SBEAP's primary goal is to effectively communicate to small businesses the information they need to comply with environmental regulations. We provide multi-media compliance assistance with an emphasis on air emission reporting and permitting requirements. Our services are free and nonregulatory.

Because numerous definitions of small businesses exist, Congress created its own for the purposes of the Clean Air Act. A small business is a stationary source of emissions that:

  • is owned or operated by a person employing 100 or fewer individuals
  • is a small business concern as defined in the Small Business Act
  • is not a major source of air emissions


  • Air Quality permit assistance
  • On-site compliance visits
  • Assistance with recordkeeping/reporting requirements
  • Pollution prevention recommendations to reduce waste and meet new emission requirements
  • Representing small businesses in the regulatory review process
  • Workshops and seminars on air regulations
  • Aid in investigating and resolving concerns with the Bureau of Air Quality

Typical Businesses

An air pollution source is any process or device that emits air pollutants, such as particulates, dust, fumes, gases, mist, smoke, vapors or odors. Below you will find examples of potential permitting scenarios. This is by no means an all inclusive list; therefore any specific permitting questions should be directed to the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program toll-free at 1-800-819-9001.

Activities and equipment that may require a permit:

  • Have something with a stack, dust collector or vent?
    • Examples: shotblasters, grinders, storage tanks
  • Use a process that includes paints, solvents, adhesives or other chemicals?
    • Examples: paint booths, degreasers, solvent cleaning tanks
  • Use a process that burns fuel (e.g., oil, natural gas, coal)?
    • Examples: boilers, furnaces, process heaters, ovens
  • Have an area that produces visible dust, smoke or odors?
    • Examples: unpaved roadways, material handling areas

Industrial and commercial businesses that may require a permit:

  • Abrasive Blasting
  • Autobody Shops
  • Cabinetry/Millwork
  • Chemical Manufacturers
  • Concrete Batch Plants
  • Cotton Gins
  • Crematories
  • Drycleaners
  • Fiberglass Product Manufacturing
  • Foundries
  • Furniture Manufacturing
  • Grain Elevators, Silos
  • Incinerators
  • Industrial Furnaces/Ovens
  • Paint Manufacturers and Applicators
  • Plating Operations
  • Surface Coating/Painting
  • Wood Processing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Environmental regulations affect all businesses, large and small. However, as a small business owner, you face a variety of unique challenges in running your business. In addition to the day-to-day operations of your company, you also have to worry about regulations that can be difficult to understand and complex to follow.

Fortunately, following environmental rules can make your business more efficient and save you money. Perhaps most importantly, environmental compliance is good for South Carolina's environment and future generations. The S.C. SBEAP is here to assist you as you navigate through the various environmental regulations to help you keep your business in compliance, and to continue to protect our environment.

These FAQs were developed by S.C. SBEAP staff based on calls and e-mails directed to our program. New questions and answers will be added on a regular basis as appropriate based on current issues and questions posed to our staff. While each question has been carefully answered, they are not designed to cover every aspect of the regulations that may apply to your situation.

Do Environmental Regulations Impact My Business?

They may if your business:

  • Releases air pollutants, such as dust, fumes, gas, mist, odor, smoke, vapor, or a combination of these, to the atmosphere.
  • Coats, glues, or paints materials.
  • Uses fuel burning equipment, such as boilers, generators, or incinerators.
  • Discharges process wastewater to a public sewer system or to a water body.
  • Uses hazardous materials, such as chemicals, plastics, rubber, resins, solvents, parts cleaners, paints, motor vehicle fluids, etc.
  • Generates hazardous wastes, such as spent solvents, fluorescent light bulbs, cleaning chemicals, oily wastes, batteries, or paints.
  • Handles or disposes of asbestos or asbestos-containing material.
  • Transports wastes of any type.
  • Uses an aboveground or an underground storage tank.
  • Uses a septic system.
  • Stores equipment, materials or waste outside where it can come in to contact with stormwater.

What are Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)?

Hazardous air pollutants, also known as toxic air pollutants or air toxics, are those pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to control 188 hazardous air pollutants. The EPA has developed, and continues to promulgate, standards to regulate the emission of these HAPs.

Examples of toxic air pollutants include benzene, which is found in gasoline; perchlorethlyene, which is emitted from some dry cleaning facilities; and methylene chloride, which is used as a solvent and paint stripper by a number of industries.

What is an "Area Source"?

"Area" sources are those sources that emit less than 10 tons annually of a single hazardous air pollutant or less than 25 tons annually of a combination of hazardous air pollutants. Area sources tend to be smaller facilities, and often include small businesses.

How do I know when the rules are amended?

All proposed amendments to South Carolina state agency rules are published in the South Carolina State Register . The State Register is published the fourth Friday of each month and includes proposed rulemaking, adopted rulemakings, and notices of public information.





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