Waters of the State

The South Carolina Pollution Control Act defines Waters of the State (WoS) as: lakes, bays, sounds, ponds, impounding reservoirs, springs, wells, rivers, streams, creeks, estuaries, marshes, inlets, canals, the Atlantic Ocean within the territorial limits of the State and all other bodies of surface or underground water, natural or artificial, public or private, inland or coastal, fresh or salt, which are wholly or partially within or bordering the State or within its jurisdiction."

Protecting and restoring the quality of all Waters of the State has, essentially, became the foundation of how and why to implement a set of practices under a site-specific stormwater management plan.

Restoration of all state waterways, WoS , should be approached with the broader goal of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the natural waters so that they can support "the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water."

The quality of Waters of the State is essential for supporting human lifestyles and wildlife.

Instances may arise, during the construction and/or design phase of a project, in which small impacts to Waters of the State are unavoidable. The majority of these instances deal with the impact of Wetland areas. When such occasions arise, Federal and State Governments must grant proper authority. These authorities must approve any impacts that are to be implemented within a WoS .

Please visit SC DHEC's 401 Water Quality Certification Section if impacts to Waters of the State are proposed before submitted a request for NPDES Stormwater Coverage. This site will provide you with information on the Federal 404 permit and the Section 401 Certification.


Although South Carolina Pollution Control Act's definition for Waters of the State does not specifically list wetlands, the Department has a legal opinion, which has been upheld in court, that wetlands are included because of the listing of marshes and all other bodies of water. Water pollution control programs administered by the Department would include activities in wetlands.

Proper Wetland determination must be made by liscensed professionals and approved by the US Army Corps of Engineers before any work may be performed in these designated areas.


South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control does not regulate the placement of fill and/or fill materials within a floodplain. This approval needs to be granted by local authorities, either county or city engineers.


Stormwater Water