Guide to Board Review

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. 44-1-60
Contested Cases, Appeals Effective December 1, 2022

The decision of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (Department) becomes the final agency decision fifteen (15) calendar days after notice of the decision has been mailed to the applicant, permittee, licensee and affected persons who have requested in writing to be notified, unless a written request for final review accompanied by a filing fee in the amount of $100 is filed with the Department by the applicant, permittee, licensee or affected person.


Applicants, permittees, licensees, and affected parties are encouraged to engage in mediation or settlement discussions during the final review process.

If the Board declines in writing to schedule a final review conference, the Department’s decision becomes the final agency decision and an applicant, permittee, licensee, or affected person may request a contested case hearing before the Administrative Law Court within thirty (30) calendar days after notice is mailed that the Board declined to hold a final review conference. In matters pertaining to decisions under the South Carolina Mining Act, appeals should be made to the South Carolina Mining Council.

I. Filing of Request for Final Review

  1. A written Request for Final Review (RFR) and the required filing fee of one hundred dollars ($100) must be received by Clerk of the Board within fifteen (15) calendar days after notice of the staff decision has been mailed to the applicant, permittee, licensee, or affected persons. If the 15th day occurs on a weekend or State holiday, the RFR must be received by the Clerk on the next working day.

  2. RFRs should be filed on-line (scdhec.gov/FileRFR) or in person or by mail at the following address:
    • South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control
      Attention: Clerk of the Board
      2600 Bull Street
      Columbia, South Carolina 29201
    • Alternatively, RFRs may be filed with the Clerk by electronic mail (boardclerk@dhec.sc.gov).
  3. RFRs shall be in writing and should include, at a minimum, the following information:
    • The grounds for amending, modifying, or rescinding the staff decision;
    • a statement of any significant issues or factors the Board should consider in deciding how to handle the matter; the relief requested;
    • a copy of the decision for which review is requested; and
    • the name of the Requestor and the Requestor’s mailing address, email address, if applicable, and phone number(s) at which the Requestor can be contacted. If the Requestor consists of a group of individuals, a representative of the group should be identified to receive all notices and communications related to the RFR for the group.
    • All information submitted is subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act.  If the RFR and accompanying documentation contain information the Requestor believes should not be released, such information should be identified.
  4. The filing fee may be paid by cash, check or credit card and must be received by the 15th day.  Credit card payments may be made by phone (803-898-3460, option 2) or on-line at scdhec.gov/FileRFR.

  5. If there is any perceived discrepancy in compliance with this RFR filing procedure or any other procedural question, the Clerk should consult with the Chairman or, if the Chairman is unavailable, the Vice-Chairman.  The Chairman or the Vice-Chairman will determine whether the RFR is timely and properly filed and direct the Clerk to (1) process the RFR for consideration by the Board or (2) return the RFR and filing fee to the requestor with a cover letter explaining why the RFR was not timely or properly filed.  Processing an RFR for consideration by the Board shall not be interpreted as a waiver of any claim or defense by the agency in subsequent proceedings concerning the RFR.

  6. If the RFR will be processed for Board consideration, the Clerk will send an Acknowledgement of RFR to the Requestor and the applicant, permittee, or licensee, if other than the Requestor.  

  7. If an RFR pertains to an emergency order, the Clerk will, upon receipt, immediately provide a copy of the RFR to all Board members.  The Chairman, or in his or her absence, the Vice-Chairman shall, based on the circumstances, decide whether to refer the RFR to the RFR Committee for expedited review or to decline in writing to schedule a Final Review Conference.  If the Chairman or Vice-Chairman determines review by the RFR Committee is appropriate, the Clerk will forward a copy of the RFR to Department staff and Office of General Counsel.  A Department response and RFR Committee review will be provided on an expedited schedule defined by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman.

  8. Following any necessary redaction, the Clerk will email the RFR to staff and Office of General Counsel and request a Department Response within ten (10) working days.  If the Requestor is not the applicant, permittee, or licensee, the Clerk will email the RFR to the applicant, permittee, or licensee and give them the option of providing a response within ten (10) working days.  Upon receipt of the Department Response and, if timely received, the applicant, permittee, or licensee response, the Clerk will forward the RFR and response(s) to all Board members for review, and all Board members will confirm receipt of the RFR package to the Clerk by email.  The responses will also be provided by the Clerk to the Requestor and the applicant, permittee, or licensee if not the Requestor, when provided to the Board; however, questions by RFR Committee members notwithstanding, no subsequent submittals by the parties will be provided to the Board until and if a Conference is scheduled.  If a Board member does not confirm receipt of the RFR within a twenty-four (24) hour period, the Clerk will attempt to contact the Board member and confirm receipt.  If a Board member believes the RFR should be considered by the RFR Committee, he or she will respond to the Clerk’s email within seventy-two (72) hours and will request further review.  If no Board member requests further review of the RFR within the seventy-two (72) hour period, the Clerk will send a letter by certified mail to the Requestor, with copy by regular mail to the applicant, permittee, or licensee, if not the Requestor, stating the Board will not hold a Final Review Conference. Contested case guidance will be included within the letter.
    NOTE:  If the time periods described in this provision end on a weekend or State holiday, the time is automatically extended to the next business day.

  9. If the RFR is to be considered by the RFR Committee, the Clerk will notify the Board that further review is requested.  The Board member(s) requesting further review will appear at the RFR Committee meeting to discuss the matter with the RFR Committee unless excused by the presiding member.  If time allows, an RFR Committee member may submit questions to the parties via the Clerk to be answered in writing prior to the RFR Committee meeting.  RFR Committee meetings are open to the public and will be public noticed at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance.

  10. Following RFR Committee or Board consideration of the RFR, if it is determined no Conference will be held, the Clerk will send a letter by certified mail to the Requestor, with copy by regular mail to the applicant, permittee, or licensee, if not the Requestor, stating the Board will not hold a Conference.  Contested case guidance will be included within the letter.

II. Final Review Conference Scheduling

  1. If a Conference will be held, the Clerk will send a letter by certified mail to the Requestor, with copy by regular mail to the applicant, permittee, or licensee, if not the Requestor, informing the Requestor of the determination.
  2. The Clerk will send Notice of Final Review Conference to the parties at least ten (10) days before the Conference. The Conference will be publicly noticed and the Notice should:
    • include the place, date and time of the Conference;
    • state the presentation times allowed in the Conference;
    • state evidence may be presented at the Conference;
    • if the conference will be held by a committee other than the RFR Committee or a designee, include a copy of the Chairman’s order appointing the committee or the designee; and
    • inform the Requestor of his or her right to request a transcript of the proceedings of the Conference prepared at Requestor’s expense.

III. Final Review Conference and Decision

  1. The order of presentation in the Conference will, subject to the presiding officer’s discretion, be as follows:
    • Department staff will provide an overview of the staff decision and the applicable law to include [15 minutes]:
      • Type of decision (permit, enforcement, etc.) and description of the program.
      • Parties
      • Description of facility/site
      • Applicable statutes and regulations
      • Decision and materials relied upon in the administrative record to support the staff decision.
    • Requestor(s) will state the reasons for protesting the staff decision and may provide evidence to support amending, modifying, or rescinding the staff decision. [20 minutes]
      NOTE: The burden of proof is on the Requestor(s)
    • Rebuttal by Department staff [20 minutes]
    • Rebuttal by applicant, permittee, or licensee, if not the Requestor [5 minutes]
    • Rebuttal by Requestor(s) [15 minutes]
      NOTE: Times noted in brackets are for information only and are superseded by times stated in the Notice of Final Review Conference or by the presiding officer.
  2. Parties may present evidence during the conference; however, the rules of evidence do not apply.
  3. At any time during the conference, the officers conducting the Conference may request additional information and may question the Requestor, the staff, and anyone else providing information at the Conference.
  4. The presiding officer, in his or her sole discretion, may allow additional time for presentations and may impose time limits on the Conference.
  5. All Conferences are open to the public.
  6. The officers may deliberate in closed session.
  7. The officers may announce the decision at the conclusion of the Conference or it may be reserved for consideration.
  8. The Clerk will mail the written final agency decision (FAD) to parties within thirty (30) days after the Conference. The written decision must explain the basis for the decision and inform the parties of their right to request a contested case hearing before the Administrative Law Court or in matters pertaining to decisions under the South Carolina Mining Act, to request a hearing before the South Carolina Mining Council. The FAD will be sent to the parties by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  9. Communications may also be sent by electronic mail, in addition to the forms stated herein, when electronic mail addresses are provided to the Clerk.

The above information is provided as a courtesy; parties are responsible for complying with all applicable legal requirements.

Rev 3, 12/1/2022

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Board of Directors DHEC