The SC Pollution Control Act (PCA) is the basis of South Carolina's water pollution control and water quality protection programs. It establishes the Department of Heath and Environmental Control (Department) as the state agency responsible for environmental matters. The law empowers the Department to hold hearings, promulgate regulations, require permits, conduct monitoring, and take enforcement actions among other things.
Section 48-1-100 of the PCA requires that any person who wants to have a new discharge or increase the quantity of discharge from an existing outlet first make application to the Department for a permit construct and a permit to discharge. This section requires public notice before a new or expanding discharge from an outlet can be permitted. Also, this section allows the Department to require permit applicant to supply the information necessary to ensure a new or expanding discharge will not violate water quality standards.
Section 48-1-110 of the PCA requires plans to be submitted and written approval granted by the Department before any disposal system may be built, operated, or modified. For wastewater construction permits, the required plans are the construction plans and specifications with supporting calculations.
In summary, the PCA is the environmental law of South Carolina relating to water quality protection and it empowers the Department to conduct the water pollution control program through a wide range of activities such as permitting, inspections, compliance, monitoring, enforcement and public education. To meet the requirements of the PCA, the Department regulates a number of different activities and facilities. The wastewater construction permit is established and under the jurisdiction of the Department because of this law.
The SC Environmental Protection Fund Act authorizes the Department to collect application and annual operating fees for any facility permitted under the SC Pollution Control Act. This law requires that fees for any program be identified in a regulation before they can assessed. Regulation 61-30 addresses fees for most environmental programs including the wastewater construction permit program. All fees collected under this law go to the Department for administering the specific program for which the fees were collected. Therefore, all fees for wastewater construction permits are applied toward running the Department's water pollution control program.
Prior to the adoption of these regulations the Department used guidelines, other standard references commonly used in the field of wastewater, and EPA guidance documents during the technical review of plans and specifications on wastewater systems.
The Regulations are divided into four (4) Parts. Part 100 contains the purpose, applicability, exclusions, general definitions, and general requirements on wastewater construction permit applications. Part 200 gives the specific information that must be included in an engineering report for a new or expanding wastewater treatment facility. Part 300 submittal requirements on applications for wastewater construction permits for sewer lines and wastewater treatment facilities including industrial pretreatment facilities. It also contains specific design criteria which must be met for different types of wastewater systems. Part 400 establishes reliability classifications for wastewater treatment facilities. This section address those components of a wastewater treatment system which have a backup and based upon the specific reliability classification of the treatment system.
Regulation 61-82 requires any wastewater treatment facility to be properly closed out when the facility in ceases operation. This regulation requires that a closeout report be prepared and submitted to the Department for review and approval when a facility has closed. The regulation does not prescribe specific methods for closures but it does contain some information relating to lagoon closures and it requires proper disposal of all waste materials. Post closeout monitoring may be required as part of the approval of a closeout report.
This regulation gives the specific fee amounts for both application and annual operating fees for wastewater facilities as well as other types of facilities. Wastewater construction permit application fees are included in this regulation. The regulation addresses assessment of penalties for late payment of fees and also authorizes the Department to deny any environmental permit to a permit applicant if any fees are not paid. The regulation also allows the Department to revoke any permit for which fees have not been paid.
In addition to establishing fees, this regulation establishes time frames for the Department to meet for each permit application covered under the fee program. The permit time frame is not the total permit time rather it is the Department's portion of the total time. This regulation also requires the staff of the Department to submit a quarterly report to the DHEC Board on the fees collected and meeting of the time frames.