This statutory database is current through the 2004 Regular Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Changes to the statutes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly, which will convene in January 2005, will be incorporated as soon as possible. Some changes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly may take immediate effect. The State of South Carolina and the South Carolina Legislative Council make no warranty as to the accuracy of the data, and users rely on the data entirely at their own risk.
Title 48 - Environmental Protection and Conservation
POLLUTION CONTROL ACT
Short title; definitions.
This chapter may be cited as the "Pollution Control Act" and, when used herein, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Person" means any individual, public or private corporation, political subdivision, government agency, municipality, industry, copartnership, association, firm, trust, estate or any other legal entity whatsoever;
(2) "Waters" means 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;
(3) "Marine district" means the waters of the Atlantic Ocean within three nautical miles from the coast line and all other tidal waters within the State;
(4) "Sewage" means the water-carried human or animal wastes from residences, buildings, industrial establishments or other places, together with such ground water infiltration and surface water as may be present and the admixture with sewage of industrial wastes or other wastes shall also be considered "sewage";
(5) "Industrial waste" means any liquid, gaseous, solid or other waste substance or a combination thereof resulting from any process of industry, manufacturing, trade or business or from the development of any natural resources;
(6) "Other wastes" means garbage, refuse, decayed wood, sawdust, shavings, bark, sand, clay, lime, cinders, ashes, offal, oil, gasoline, other petroleum products or by-products, tar, dye stuffs, acids, chemicals, dead animals, heated substances and all other products, by-products or substances not sewage or industrial waste;
(7) "Pollution" means (1) the presence in the environment of any substance, including, but not limited to, sewage, industrial waste, other waste, air contaminant, or any combination thereof in such quantity and of such characteristics and duration as may cause, or tend to cause the environment of the State to be contaminated, unclean, noxious, odorous, impure or degraded, or which is, or tends to be injurious to human health or welfare; or which damages property, plant, animal or marine life or use of property; or (2) the man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological and radiological integrity of water;
(8) "Standard" or "standards" means such measure of purity or quality for any waters in relation to their reasonable and necessary use as may after hearing be established;
(9) "Department" means the Department of Health and Environmental Control;
(10) "Sewage system" or "sewerage system" means pipelines and conductors, pumping stations, force mains and all other construction, devices and appliances appurtenant thereto used for conducting sewage, industrial waste or other wastes to a point of ultimate discharge;
(11) "Treatment works" means any plant, disposal field, lagoon, constructed drainage ditch or surface water intercepting ditch, incinerator, area devoted to sanitary land fills or other works not specifically mentioned herein, installed for the purpose of treating, neutralizing, stabilizing or disposing of sewage, industrial waste or other wastes;
(12) "Disposal system" means a system for disposing of sewage, industrial waste or other wastes, including sewerage systems and treatment works;
(13) "Outlet" means the terminus of a sewer system or the point of emergence of any water-borne sewage, industrial waste or other wastes, or the effluent therefrom, into the waters of the State;
(14) "Shellfish" means oysters, scallops, clams, mussels and other aquatic mollusks and lobsters, shrimp, crawfish, crabs and other aquatic crustaceans;
(15) "Ambient air" means that portion of the atmosphere outside of buildings and other enclosures, stacks, or ducts which surrounds human, plant, or animal life, water or property;
(16) "Air contaminant" means particulate matter, dust, fumes, gas, mist, smoke, or vapor, or any combination thereof produced by processes other than natural;
(17) "Source" means any and all points of origin of air contaminants whether privately or publicly owned or operated;
(18) "Undesirable level" means the presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more air contaminants or any combination thereof in sufficient quantity and of such characteristics and duration as to be injurious to human health or welfare, or to damage plant, animal or marine life, to property or which unreasonably interfere with enjoyment of life or use of property;
(19) "Emission" means a release into the outdoor atmosphere of air contaminants;
(20) "Environment" means the waters, ambient air, soil and/or land;
(21) "Effluent" means the discharge from a waste disposal system;
(22) "Effluent limitations" means restrictions or prohibitions of chemical, physical, biological, and other constituents which are discharged from point sources into State waters, including schedules of compliance;
(23) "Point source" means any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, including, but not limited to, any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation or vessel, or other floating craft, from which pollutants are or may be discharged.
Declaration of legislative purpose.
It is declared to be the public policy of the State to maintain reasonable standards of purity of the air and water resources of the State, consistent with the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, maximum employment, the industrial development of the State, the propagation and protection of terrestrial and marine flora and fauna, and the protection of physical property and other resources. It is further declared that to secure these purposes and the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, the Department of Health and Environmental Control shall have authority to abate, control and prevent pollution.
Promulgation of regulations; approval of alternatives.
The Department shall promulgate regulations to implement this chapter to govern the procedure of the Department with respect to meetings, hearings, filing of reports, the issuance of permits and all other matters relating to procedure. The regulations for preventing contamination of the air may not specify any particular method to be used to reduce undesirable levels, nor the type, design, or method of installation or type of construction of any manufacturing processes or other kinds of equipment. Except where the Department determines that it is not feasible to prescribe or enforce an emission standard or standard of performance, it may, by regulation, specify equipment, operational practice, or emission control method, or combination thereof. The Department may grant approval for alternate equipment, operational practice, or emission control method, or combination thereof, where the owner or operator of a source can demonstrate to the Department that such alternative is substantially equivalent to that specified.
Adoption of standards for water and air.
The Department, after public hearing as herein provided, shall adopt standards and determine what qualities and properties of water and air shall indicate a polluted condition and these standards shall be promulgated and made a part of the rules and regulations of the Department. The Department, in determining standards and designing the use of streams shall be guided by the provisions of this chapter.
Powers of Department.
The Department may:
(1) Hold public hearings, compel attendance of witnesses, make findings of fact and determinations and assess such penalties as are herein prescribed;
(2) Hold hearings upon complaints or upon petitions in accordance with Section 48-1-140 or as otherwise provided in this chapter;
(3) Make, revoke or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of the discharge of sewage, industrial waste or other wastes into any waters of the State, or the discharge of air contaminants into the ambient air so as to create an undesirable level, resulting in pollution in excess of the applicable standards established. Such orders shall specify the conditions and time within which such discontinuance must be accomplished;
(4) Institute or cause to be instituted, in a court of competent jurisdiction, legal proceedings, including an injunction, to compel compliance with the provisions of this chapter or the determinations, permits and permit conditions and orders of the Department. An injunction granted by any court shall be issued without bond;
(5) Issue, deny, revoke, suspend or modify permits, under such conditions as it may prescribe for the discharge of sewage, industrial waste or other waste or air contaminants or for the installation or operation of disposal systems or sources or parts thereof; provided, however, that no permit shall be revoked without first providing an opportunity for a hearing;
(6) Conduct studies, investigations and research with respect to pollution abatement, control or prevention. Such studies shall include but not be limited to, air control, sources, disposal systems and treatment of sewage, industrial waste or other wastes, by all scientific methods and, if necessary, of the use of mobile laboratories;
(7) Settle or compromise any action or cause of action for the recovery of a penalty or damages under this chapter as it may deem advantageous to the State;
(8) Cooperate with the governments of the United States or other states or State agencies or organizations, official or unofficial, in respect to pollution control matters or for the formulation of interstate pollution control compacts or agreements;
(9) Prepare and develop a general comprehensive program for the abatement, control and prevention of air and water pollution;
(10) Require to be submitted to it and consider for approval plans for disposal systems or sources or any parts thereof and inspect the construction thereof for compliance with the approved plans;
(11) Administer penalties as otherwise provided herein for violations of this chapter, including any order, permit, regulation or standards;
(12) Accept, receive and administer grants or other funds or gifts for the purpose of carrying out any of the purposes of this chapter; accept, receive and receipt for Federal money given by the Federal government under any Federal law to the State of South Carolina for air or water control activities, surveys or programs;
(13) Encourage voluntary cooperation by persons, or affected groups in restoration and preservation of a reasonable degree of purity of air and water;
(14) Collect and disseminate information on air or water control;
(15) Approve projects for which applications for loans or grants under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or the Federal Air Quality Act are made by any municipality (including any city, town, district, or other public body created by or pursuant to the laws of this State and having jurisdiction over disposal of sewage, industrial wastes or other wastes) or agency of this State or by an interstate agency;
(16) Participate through its authorized representatives in proceedings under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or the Federal Air Quality Act to recommend measures for abatement of water pollution originating in this State;
(17) Take all action necessary or appropriate to secure to this State the benefits of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or the Federal Air Quality Act and any and all other Federal and State acts concerning air and water pollution control;
(18) Consent on behalf of the State to request by the Federal Security Administrator to the Attorney General of the United States for the bringing of suit for abatement of such pollution;
(19) Consent to the joinder as a defendant to such suit of any person who is alleged to be discharging matter contributing to the pollution, abatement of which is sought in such suit;
(20) Conduct investigations of conditions in the air or waters of the State to determine whether or not standards are being contravened and the origin of materials which are causing the polluted condition;
(21) Establish the cause, extent and origin of damages from waste including damages to the fish, waterfowl, and other aquatic animals and public property which result from the discharge of wastes to the waters of the State;
(22) Require the owner or operator of any source or disposal system to establish and maintain such operational records; make reports; install, use, and maintain monitoring equipment or methods; sample and analyze emissions or discharges in accordance with prescribed methods, at locations, intervals, and procedures as the Department shall prescribe; and provide such other information as the Department reasonably may require;
(23) Adopt emission and effluent control regulations, standards and limitations that are applicable to the entire State, that are applicable only within specified areas or zones of the State, or that are applicable only when a specified class of pollutant is present;
(24) Enter at all times in or upon any property, public or private, for the purpose of inspecting and investigating conditions relating to pollution or the possible pollution of the environment of the State. Its authorized agents may examine and copy any records or memoranda pertaining to the operation of a disposal system or source that may be necessary to determine that the operation thereof is in compliance with the performance as specified in the application for a permit to construct; provided, however, that if such entry or inspection is denied or not consented to, and no emergency exists, the Department is empowered to and shall obtain from the magistrate from the jurisdiction in which such property, premise or place is located, a warrant to enter and inspect any such property, premise or place prior to entry and inspection. The magistrate of such jurisdiction is empowered to issue such warrants upon a proper showing of the needs for such entry and inspection. The results of any such inspection and investigation conducted by the Department shall be reduced to writing and a copy shall be furnished to the owner or operator of the source or disposal system; and
(25) Issue orders prohibiting any political entity having the authority to issue building permits from issuing such permits when the political entity has been ordered to correct a condition which has caused or is causing pollution. Provided, that no such order shall be issued until the State is capable of participating in Federal, State and local cost-sharing arrangements for municipal waste treatment facilities as set forth in the Clean Water Restoration Act of 1966.
Classification and standards of quality and purity of the environment authorized after notice and hearing.
It is recognized that, due to variable factors, no single standard of quality and purity of the environment is applicable to all ambient air, land or waters of the State. In order to attain the objectives of this chapter, the Department, after proper study and after conducting a public hearing upon due notice, shall adopt rules and regulations and classification standards. The classification and the standards of quality and purity of the environment shall be adopted by the Department in relation to the public use or benefit to which such air, land or waters are or may, in the future, be put. Such classification and standards may from time to time be altered or modified by the Department.
The adoption of a classification of the waters and the standards of quality and purity of the environment shall be made by the Department only after public hearing on due notice as provided by this chapter.
Matters which standards for water may prescribe.
The standards for water adopted pursuant to this chapter may prescribe:
(1) The extent, if any, to which floating solids may be permitted in the water;
(2) The extent to which suspended solids, colloids or a combination of solids with other substances suspended in water may be permitted;
(3) The extent to which organisms of the coliform group (intestinal bacilli) or any other bacteriological organisms may be permitted in the water;
(4) The extent of the oxygen which may be required in receiving waters; and
(5) Such other physical, chemical or biological properties as may be necessary for the attainment of the objectives of this chapter.
Considerations in formulating classification and standards for water.
In adopting the classification of waters and the standards of purity and quality, consideration shall be given to:
(1) The size, depth, surface area covered, volume, direction, rate of flow, stream gradient and temperature of the water;
(2) The character of the district bordering such water and its peculiar suitability for the particular uses and with a view to conserving it and encouraging the most appropriate use of the lands bordering on such water for residential, agricultural, industrial or recreational purposes;
(3) The uses which have been made, are being made or may be made of such waters for transportation, domestic and industrial consumption, irrigation, bathing, fishing and fish culture, fire prevention, sewage disposal or otherwise; and
(4) The extent of present defilement or fouling of such waters which has already occurred or resulted from past discharges therein.
Dissolved oxygen concentration depression; procedures to obtain site-specific effluent limit.
(A) The department shall not allow a depression in dissolved oxygen concentration greater than 0.10 mg/l in a naturally low dissolved oxygen waterbody unless the requirements of this section are all satisfied by demonstrating that resident aquatic species shall not be adversely affected. The provisions of this section apply in addition to any standards for a dissolved oxygen depression in a naturally low dissolved oxygen waterbody promulgated by the department by regulation.
(B) A party seeking a site-specific effluent limit related to dissolved oxygen pursuant to this section must notify the department in writing of its intent to obtain the depression. Upon receipt of the written notice of this intent, the department shall within thirty days publish a public notice indicating the party seeking the dissolved oxygen depression and the specific site for which the dissolved oxygen depression is sought in addition to the department's usual public notice procedures. The notice shall be in the form of an advertisement in a newspaper of statewide circulation and in the local newspaper with the greatest general circulation in the affected area. If within thirty days of the publication of the public notice the department receives a request to hold a public hearing from at least twenty citizens or residents of the county or counties affected, the department shall conduct such a hearing. The hearing must be conducted at an appropriate location near the specific site for which the dissolved oxygen depression is sought and must be held within ninety days of the publication of the initial public notice by the department.
(C) The department, in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, shall provide a general methodology to be used for consideration of a site-specific effluent limit related to dissolved oxygen.
(D) The party seeking a site-specific effluent limit related to dissolved oxygen must conduct a study:
(1) to determine natural dissolved oxygen conditions at the specific site for which the depression is sought. The study must use an appropriate reference site. The reference site is not restricted to the State but must have similar geography, environmental setting, and climatic conditions. However, if an appropriate reference site cannot be located, the party may use a site-specific dynamic water quality model or, if available, a site-specific multidimensional dynamic water quality model.
(2) to assess the ability of aquatic resources at the specific site for which the dissolved oxygen depression is sought to tolerate the proposed dissolved oxygen depression.
(E) The department shall provide the following agencies sixty days in which to review and provide comments on the design of the scientific study required in subsection (D):
(1) the United States Fish & Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior;
(2) the United States Geological Survey of the United States Department of the Interior;
(3) the National Ocean Service of the United States Department of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the United States Department of Commerce; and
(4) The Department of Natural Resources.
The department and the Department of Natural Resources shall select and convene a science peer review committee to review the design of the study as required by subsection (D). The department and the Environmental Protection Agency must concur on the final design before a study is initiated. Justification of any objection to the study design must be based solely on scientific considerations. Objections to the study design must be provided in writing by the department to the party seeking a site-specific effluent limit related to dissolved oxygen.
(F) The department shall provide the following agencies sixty days to review and comment on the results of the studies required in subsection (D):
(1) the United States Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior;
(2) the United States Geological Survey of the United States Department of the Interior; and
(3) the National Ocean Service of the United States Department of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the United States Department of Commerce.
In order for a site-specific effluent limit related to dissolved oxygen to be implemented pursuant to this section, the department, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency must concur that the results of the study required in subsection (D) justify its implementation. In reaching a decision on the study results, the department and the Department of Natural Resources must base their decision upon the entire record, taking into account whatever in the record detracts from the weight of the decision, and must be supported by evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the decision. Objections to the acceptance of the results of the study must be provided in writing by the department to the party seeking a site-specific effluent limit related to dissolved oxygen.
Requirements for houseboats with marine toilets.
(A) It is unlawful for a person to operate or float a houseboat on the freshwaters of this State having a marine toilet unless it discharges only into a holding tank.
(B) As used in this section:
(1) "Holding tank" means a container designed to receive and hold sewage and other wastes discharged from a marine toilet and constructed and installed in a manner so that it may be emptied only by pumping out its contents.
(2) "Houseboat" means a vessel which is used primarily as a residence and is not used primarily as a means of transportation.
(3) "Marine toilet" includes equipment for installation on board a houseboat designed to receive, retain, treat, or discharge sewage. A marine toilet must be equipped with a holding tank.
(C) When an owner of a houseboat having a marine toilet applies to the Department of Natural Resources for a certificate of title pursuant to Section 50-23-20, he shall certify in the application that the toilet discharges only into a holding tank.
(D) Houseboat holding tanks may be emptied only by a pump-out system permitted by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
(E) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two hundred dollars for each day's violation or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
Aquatic Life Protection Act; definitions.
(A) In order to provide for the survival and propagation of a balanced indigenous community of flora and fauna as set forth in Regulation 61-68 in a manner consistent with Section 48-1-20, the department may only impose NPDES permit limitations for whole effluent toxicity ("WET") expressed in terms of survival endpoints where, based on the mixing zone authorized in subsection (D), the department determines that a discharge has the reasonable potential to cause or contribute to an excursion of a water quality criterion in Regulation 61-68, other than numeric criteria for specific pollutants, that apply to the protection of indigenous aquatic organisms.
(B) The department shall promulgate regulations to implement WET tests that incorporate the findings of the study required by this subsection. The study must:
(1) develop a valid scientific correlation between sublethal WET test results and the biological integrity of representative lakes, streams, and estuaries in this State, wherein biological integrity includes the richness, abundance, and balanced community structure of indigenous aquatic organisms;
(2) calibrate EPA's standard toxicity testing species and methods to the natural water chemistry representative of the lakes, streams, groundwater, and natural stormwater runoff of this State; and
(3) as necessary, develop sublethal WET testing protocols in accordance with applicable EPA regulations and guidance using fish and invertebrate species native to this State, including sensitivity analyses to validate these native species for use in further sublethal WET tests, and to provide the correlations and calibrations set forth in items (1) and (2).
(C) Until such time as the department complies with subsection (B), the department may use sublethal WET test failures associated with a specific discharge only for the following purposes:
(1) to require additional WET testing;
(2) to require a Toxicity Identification Evaluation;
(3) to require an instream bioassessment;
(4) to impose a permit limit expressed in terms of lethality where the department can show reasonable potential pursuant to subsection (A); or
(5) to impose WET permit limits expressed in terms of sublethal endpoints where the department can show reasonable potential, in conformity with subsection (D), with respect to the specific discharge.
(D) For purposes of performing WET reasonable potential determinations for a specific discharge and, where justified, setting WET permit limitations for that discharge, the department shall:
(1) adjust for actual frequency, duration, and magnitude of exposure to potentially toxic discharges;
(2) evaluate acute and chronic instream exposure based on the complete mixing of the effluent with one hundred percent of that stream flow statistically calculated to represent the lowest average flow conditions that occur continuously for a seven-day period once every ten years (7Q10) or, for water bodies other than streams including, but not limited to, lakes and ponds, other reasonably equivalent conditions based on complete mixing with the 7Q10 flow of source waters feeding the water body;
(3) use stream flow conditions other than those described in item (2) where justified by hydrological controls that are capable of ensuring minimum flow conditions higher than the respective ten-year flows identified in item (2), to evaluate acute and chronic exposure, using the actual frequency, duration, and magnitude of that exposure;
(4) use, for stormwater discharges, stream flows higher than 7Q10 that are proportional to the rainfall event responsible for the stormwater discharge, with any resulting WET permit limitations comprising only those expressed in terms of acute survival endpoints;
(5) consider such mixing calculations as described in items (1), (2), (3), and (4) to be consistent with its policy set forth in Regulation 61-68 for minimizing mixing zones;
(6) provide for, at the request of an individual discharger, setting WET permit limitations based on actual flow conditions that may be present above the minimum flows defined in items (2), (3), and (4);
(7) show, based on scientifically established and statistically sound procedures and with results validated by independent peer review, that a statistically significant correlation exists between sublethal WET test results for the specific discharge and the extent of adverse impact on the indigenous biological community downstream of the discharge prior to imposing WET permit limits expressed in terms of sublethal endpoints;
(8) utilize a weight of evidence approach that gives primary consideration to compliance with numeric criteria and actual instream biological conditions;
(9) show that WET test results are at levels above which there is adequate confidence that test organism survival or reproductive rate in the effluent is statistically significantly different from test organism survival or reproductive rate in the control;
(10) allow, at the request of the permittee, the use of ambient receiving waters as control and diluent waters in WET tests used for compliance purposes; and
(11) exempt once-through, noncontact cooling water, to which no biocides have been added, from toxicity requirements.
(E) The department shall establish formal data quality objectives that define the level of accuracy and precision necessary to correctly evaluate WET test results and shall establish an enhanced laboratory certification program to implement those objectives.
(F) The department shall disclose, in the rationale for any NPDES permit in which a WET limit is imposed, the number of WET limit excursions that are statistically expected to arise during the permit term due to statistical error, analytical variability, or other factors unrelated to actual effluent quality.
(G) No later than one year after the effective date of this section, the department shall promulgate regulations, consistent with the use reclassification provisions of Regulation 61-68(E)(6) and conforming with applicable EPA regulations and guidance, to allow temporary variances from WET-based requirements or permit limits for a period of three years, subject to review and, as appropriate, subsequent renewals.
(H) Any provision in this section must not be construed to limit the department's authority to adopt water quality criteria or to impose permit limits for specific chemical pollutants, and any provision in this section must not be construed to obligate the department to revalidate existing water quality criteria or establish additional water quality criteria for specific chemical pollutants.
(I) For the purpose of implementing Section 48-1-20 and Regulation 61-68:
(1) "Propagation" means self-sustaining presence and dissemination of aquatic organisms native to this State within their natural environment.
(2) "Biological integrity" means a measure of the health of an aquatic or marine ecosystem using the richness and abundance of species as the primary indicator, and "biological integrity" is a key component of an "instream bioassessment".
(3) "Valid scientific correlation" means a statistically valid relationship allowing the prediction, to within a predetermined statistical confidence level of at least ninety-five percent, of the value of a second variable or parameter from the value of a first variable or parameter.
(4) "Sublethal toxicity tests" means laboratory experiments that measure the nonlethal biological effects including, but not limited to, growth or reproduction, of effluents or receiving waters on aquatic organisms.
(5) "Calibrate" means a process to establish the baseline control condition based on the normal range of biological responses likely to occur when standard test organisms are exposed to various nontoxic waters sampled from streams and lakes throughout the State.
(6) "Frequency, duration, and magnitude of exposure" means a measure of the potential for toxic effects to occur based on the amount of time that an organism is likely to be in contact with a given concentration of a potentially toxic substance and the probability that similar contact conditions will reoccur in waters of this State.
Causing or permitting pollution of environment prohibited; remedies.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, to throw, drain, run, allow to seep or otherwise discharge into the environment of the State organic or inorganic matter, including sewage, industrial wastes and other wastes, except as in compliance with a permit issued by the Department.
(b) Any person who discharges organic or inorganic matter into the waters of this State as described in subsection (a) to the extent that the fish, shellfish, aquatic animals, wildlife or plant life indigenous to or dependent upon the receiving waters or any property are damaged or destroyed shall be liable to the State for such damages as may be proved. The action shall be brought by the State in its own name or in the name of the Department.
The amount of any judgment for damages recovered by the State, less cost, shall be remitted to the agency, commission, department or political subdivision of the State that has jurisdiction over the fish, shellfish, aquatic animals, wildlife or plant life damaged or destroyed.
The civil remedy herein provided shall not be exclusive, and any agency, commission, department or political subdivision of the State with appropriate authority may undertake in its own name an action to recover such damages as it may deem advisable independent of this subsection.
Permits for discharge of wastes or air contaminants; jurisdiction of Department.
(A) A person affected by the provisions of this chapter or the rules and regulations adopted by the department desiring to make a new outlet or source, or to increase the quantity of discharge from existing outlets or sources, for the discharge of sewage, industrial waste or other wastes, or the effluent therefrom, or air contaminants, into the waters or ambient air of the State, first shall make an application to the department for a permit to construct and a permit to discharge from the outlet or source. If, after appropriate public comment procedures, as defined by department regulations, the department finds that the discharge from the proposed outlet or source will not be in contravention of provisions of this chapter, a permit to construct and a permit to discharge must be issued to the applicant. The department, if sufficient hydrologic and environmental information is not available for it to make a determination of the effect of the discharge, may require the person proposing to make the discharge to conduct studies that will enable the department to determine that its quality standards will not be violated.
(B) The Department of Health and Environmental Control is the agency of state government having jurisdiction over the quality of the air and waters of the State of South Carolina. It shall develop and enforce standards as may be necessary governing emissions or discharges into the air, streams, lakes, or coastal waters of the State, including waste water discharges.
(C) The Department of Health and Environmental Control is the agency of state government having jurisdiction over those matters involving real or potential threats to the health of the people of South Carolina, including the handling and disposal of garbage and refuse; septic tanks; and individual or privately-owned systems for the disposal of offal and human or animal wastes.
Permits required for construction or alteration of disposal systems; classification; unlawful operations or discharges.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, until plans therefor have been submitted to and approved by the department and a written permit therefor shall have been granted to:
(1) Construct or install a disposal system or source;
(2) Make any change in, addition to or extension of any existing disposal system or part thereof that would materially alter the method or the effect of treating or disposing of the sewage, industrial waste or other wastes;
(3) Operate such new disposal systems or new source, or any existing disposal system or source;
(4) Increase the load through existing outlets of sewage, industrial waste or other wastes into the waters of the State.
(b) The director of Health and Environmental Control shall classify all public wastewater treatment plants, giving due regard to size, types of work, character, and volume of waste to be treated, and the use and nature of the water resources receiving the plant effluent. Plants may be classified in a group higher than indicated at the discretion of the classifying officer by reason of the incorporation in the plant of complex features which cause the plant to be more difficult to operate than usual or by reason of a waste unusually difficult to treat, or by reason of conditions of flow or use of the receiving waters requiring an unusually high degree of plant operation control or for combinations of such conditions or circumstances. The classification is based on the following groups:
(1) For biological wastewater treatment plants: Group I-B. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the following units: primary settling, chlorination, sludge removal, imhoff tanks, sand filters, sludge drying beds, land spraying, grinding, screening, oxidation, and stabilization ponds. Group II-B. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the units listed in Group I-B and, in addition, one or more of the following units: sludge digestion, aerated lagoon, and sludge thickeners. Group III-B. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the units listed in Groups I-B and II-B and, in addition, one or more of the following: trickling filters, secondary settling, chemical treatment, vacuum filters, sludge elutriation, sludge incinerator, wet oxidation process, contact aeration, and activated sludge (either conventional, modified, or high rate processes). Group IV-B. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the units listed in Groups I-B, II-B, and III-B and, in addition, treat waste having a raw five-day biochemical oxygen demand of five thousand pounds a day or more.
(2) Effective July 1, 1987, for physical-chemical wastewater treatment plants: Group I-P/C. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the following units: primary settling, equalization, pH control, and oil skimming. Group II-P/C. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the units listed in Group I-P/C and, in addition, one or more of the following units: sludge storage, dissolved air flotation, and clarification. Group III-P/C. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the units listed in Groups I-P/C and II-P/C and, in addition, one or more of the following: oxidation/reduction reactions, cyanide destruction, metals precipitation, sludge dewatering, and air stripping. Group IV-P/C. All wastewater treatment plants which include one or more of the units listed in Groups I-P/C, II-P/C, and III-P/C and, in addition, one or more of the following: membrane technology, ion exchange, tertiary chemicals, and electrochemistry.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person or municipal corporation to operate a public wastewater treatment plant unless the operator-in-charge holds a valid certificate of registration issued by the Board of Certification of Environmental Systems Operators in a grade corresponding to the classification of the public wastewater treatment plant supervised by him, except as hereinafter provided.
(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate an approved waste disposal facility in violation of the conditions of the permit to construct or the permit to discharge.
(e) It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, negligently or willfully, to discharge any air contaminant or other substance in the ambient air that shall cause an undesirable level.
Determination and correction of undesirable level.
If the Department shall determine that an undesirable level exists, it shall take such action as necessary to control such condition.
The Department shall grant such time as is reasonable for the owner or operator of a source to correct the undesirable level, after taking all factors into consideration that are pertinent to the issue.
In making its order and determinations, the Department shall take into consideration all the facts and circumstances bearing upon the reasonableness of the emissions involved including, but not limited to:
(a) The character and degree of injury to, or interference with, the health and physical property of the people;
(b) The social and economic value of the source of the undesirable levels;
(c) The question of priority of location in the area involved; and
(d) The technical practicability and economic reasonableness of reducing or eliminating the emissions resulting from such source.
If the undesirable level is not corrected within the required time, then the Department shall issue an order to cease and desist from causing such emissions.
Final order of Authority for discontinuance of discharge of wastes or air contaminants.
Any person discharging sewage, industrial waste or other waste or air contaminant into any of the waters or ambient air of the State, without regard to the time that such discharge began or whether such continued discharge has been by virtue of a permit issued by the Department, shall discontinue the discharge of such sewage, industrial waste or other wastes into, or in such manner or quantity as to cause pollution of, the waters of the State upon receipt of a final order of the Department issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. But in the case of such discharges, except those discharges causing an actual or potential hazard to public health, no final order of discontinuance of discharge shall be entered until a reasonable time after service of an order of the Department determining that such discharge constitutes pollution in contravention of the standards adopted by the Department and directing the alleged polluter to take such steps as may be necessary to abate the polluting content of such discharge to conform to the standards of the Department.
Revision or modification of national pollutant discharge elimination system or final compliance date for stationary source or class or sources of air pollution.
(a) The Department may, after notice and opportunity for a public hearing, revise or modify a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit in accordance with the procedures and criteria set out in Sections 301(c), 302 and 316(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972.
(b) The Department may, after notice and opportunity for a public hearing, revise or modify a final compliance date for any stationary source or class or sources of air pollution whether contained in regulations or a compliance order, if the Department determines that
(1) good faith efforts have been made to comply with such requirement before such date;
(2) such source (or class) is unable to comply with such requirement because the necessary technology or other alternative methods of control are not reasonably available or have not been available for a sufficient period of time;
(3) any available alternative operating procedures and interim control measures have reduced or will reduce the impact of such source on public health;
(4) the continued operation of such source is essential to national security or to the public health or welfare.
Provided, however, that where the compliance date is one prescribed in the State Implementation Plan, the findings and recommendations of the Department shall be submitted to the Governor for transmittal to the Administrator of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency or his designated representative for his concurrence or rejection. Rejection by the administrator may constitute grounds for rejection of a request for modification or revisions of such compliance requirement.
(c) Any determination under items (a) or (b) of this section shall (1) be made on the record after notice to interested persons and opportunity for hearing, (2) be based upon a fair evaluation of the entire record at such hearing, and (3) include a statement setting forth in detail the findings and conclusions upon which the determination is based.
Situations in which public hearing is required or authorized.
Public hearings shall be conducted by the Department prior to action by the Department in the classification of the waters or the adoption of standards of purity and quality thereof as provided by this chapter. The Department may conduct public hearings prior to action in the following cases, either of its own volition or upon the request of affected persons, (a) an order of determination of the Department requiring the discontinuance of discharge of sewage, industrial waste or other wastes into the waters of the State or air contaminant into the ambient air, (b) an order issuing, denying, revoking, suspending or modifying a permit, (c) a determination that a discharge constitutes pollution of waters of a marine district and (d) any other proceeding resulting in a finding of fact or determination that a discharge of air contaminants into the ambient air or sewage, industrial waste or other wastes into the waters of the State contravenes the standards established for such air and waters.
Conduct of hearing; decision of Department.
The hearings herein provided for may be conducted by the Department at a regular or special meeting or it may delegate to any member, to the executive director or to any employee or agent of the Department, the authority to conduct such hearings in the name of the Department at any time and place. But the Department shall make all necessary decisions as to the matter under consideration. Such decision may be based solely upon the record of any hearing conducted by the Department or by its duly authorized representative.
Records of hearings and decisions.
In any hearing held by the Department in which a quasi-judicial decision is rendered, the Department shall make a record of the decision and secure its prompt publication. The decision shall include a statement of the facts in controversy, the decision of the Department, the law or regulation upon which the decision is based and any other information deemed necessary.
To serve as a guide and precedent of the policy of the Department, the decisions shall be chronologically numbered according to date and compiled in an annual report similar in style to the reports of the Supreme Court. The reports of these decisions shall be made available to the public.
If any person concerned with such hearing requests it, a complete transcript of the testimony presented shall be made and filed.
Oaths; examination of witnesses; subpoenas.
In any such hearing, any member of the Department, the executive director or any employee or agent thereof authorized by the Department may administer oaths, examine witnesses and issue in the name of the Department notices of hearings and subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence relevant to any matter involved in any such hearing. Witnesses shall receive the same fees and mileage as in civil actions.
Refusal to obey notice of hearing or subpoena.
In case of refusal to obey a notice of hearing or subpoena, the court of common pleas shall have jurisdiction, upon application of the Department, to issue an order requiring such person to appear and testify or produce evidence, as the case may require, and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.
Any person may appeal from any order of the Department within thirty days after the filing of the order, to the court of common pleas of any county in which the pollution occurs. The Department shall thereupon certify to the court the record in the hearing. The court shall review the record and the regularity and the justification for the order, on the merits, and render judgment thereon as in ordinary appeals in equity. The court may order or permit further testimony on the merits of the case, in its discretion such testimony to be given either before the judge or referee by him appointed. From such judgment of the court an appeal may be taken as in other civil actions.
Duties of Attorney General and solicitors.
The Attorney General shall be the legal adviser of the Department and shall upon request of the Department institute injunction proceedings or any other court action to accomplish the purpose of this chapter. In the prosecution of any criminal action by the Attorney General and in any proceeding before a grand jury in connection therewith the Attorney General may exercise all the powers and perform all the duties which the solicitor would otherwise be authorized or required to exercise or perform and in such a proceeding the solicitor shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as are requested of him by the Attorney General.
Institution of prosecutions.
Prosecutions for the violation of a final determination or order shall be instituted only by the Department or as otherwise provided for in this chapter.
Disposition of funds.
Any funds appropriated to or received by the Department shall be deposited in the State Treasury as provided by law. Such funds shall be paid out on warrants issued by the State as prescribed by law, but only on order of the authorized representatives of the Department and in accordance with an annual budget or amendments thereto approved by the Department at an official meeting, such order being the authority of the proper fiscal officials of the State for making payment.
Chapter remedies are cumulative; estoppel.
It is the purpose of this chapter to provide additional and cumulative remedies to abate the pollution of the air and waters of the State and nothing herein contained shall abridge or alter rights of action in the civil courts or remedies existing in equity or under the common law or statutory law, nor shall any provision in this chapter or any act done by virtue of this chapter be construed as estopping the State, persons or municipalities, as riparian owners or otherwise, in the exercise of their rights under the common law, statutory law or in equity to suppress nuisances or to abate any pollution.
Persons for whose benefit causes of action resulting from violations inure; presumption from determination by Department.
Causes of action resulting from the violation of the prohibitions contained in this chapter inure to and are for the benefit of any person or persons damaged as the result of any such violation. A determination by the Department that pollution exists or a violation of any of the prohibitions contained in this chapter, whether or not actionable by the State, create no presumption of law or fact inuring to or for the benefit of persons other than the State.
Conditions within industrial plants and employer-employee relations not affected.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to grant to the Department any authority to make any rule, regulation or determination or to enter any order with respect to air conditions existing solely within the industrial boundaries of commercial and industrial plants, works or shops or to affect the relations between employers and employees with respect to or arising out of any air pollution within such boundaries.
Availability of records, reports and information to the public; confidentiality of trade secrets.
Any records, reports or information obtained under any provision of this chapter shall be available to the public. Upon a showing satisfactory to the Department by any person that records, reports or information, or particular parts thereof, other than effluent or emission data, if made public would divulge methods or processes entitled to protection as trade secrets of such person, the Department shall consider such record, report or information or particular portion thereof confidential in the administration of this chapter.
Health laws not affected.
Nothing herein contained shall be construed to postpone, stay or abrogate the enforcement of the provisions of the public health laws of this State and rules and regulations promulgated hereunder in respect to discharges causing actual or potential hazards to public health nor to prevent the Department of Health and Environmental Control from exercising its right to prevent or abate nuisances.
Whenever the Department finds that an emergency exists requiring immediate action to protect the public health or property, the Department, with concurrent notice to the Governor, may without notice or hearing issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as the Department deems necessary to meet the emergency. Such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but on application to the Department or by direction of the Governor shall be afforded a hearing within forty-eight hours. On the basis of such hearing the Department shall continue such order in effect, revoke it or modify it. Regardless of whether a hearing is held, the Department shall revoke all emergency orders as soon as conditions or operations change to the extent that an emergency no longer exists.
Certain violations excused.
The civil and criminal liabilities herein imposed upon persons violating the provisions hereof shall not be construed to include any violation which was caused by an act of God, war, strike, riot or other catastrophe as to which negligence on the part of such person was not the proximate cause.
Local air pollution control programs.
The governing body of any county is hereby authorized to establish, administer and enforce a local air pollution control program, subject to the approval of the Department. Such programs shall be formulated in accordance with standards and procedures adopted by the Department, and shall be subject to periodic review by the Department, which shall have the power to invalidate such programs if found to be unsatisfactory. County pollution control authorities, when constituted under this section, are hereby authorized to exercise in the geographic area involved all of the powers specified in this chapter, including the authority to adopt rules, regulations and procedures for the control of air pollution.
Penalties for violation of Pollution Control Act.
A person who wilfully or with gross negligence or recklessness violates a provision of this chapter or a regulation, permit, permit condition, or final determination or order of the department is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars or more than twenty-five thousand dollars for each day's violation or be imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter, or any rule or regulation, permit or permit condition, final determination or order of the Department, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars per day of such violation.
False statements, representations or certifications; falsifying, tampering with or rendering inaccurate monitoring devices or methods.
Any person who knowingly makes any false statement, representation or certification in any application, record, report, plan or other document filed or required to be maintained under this chapter or who falsifies, tampers with or knowingly renders inaccurate any monitoring device or method required to be maintained under this chapter, shall be subject to the civil or criminal provisions contained in this chapter. For the purposes of this section the term "person" shall mean, in addition to the definition contained in Section 48-1-10, any responsible corporate officer.
Penalties shall constitute debts to State; liens; disposition of moneys collected.
All penalties assessed under this chapter are held as a debt payable to the State by the person against whom they have been charged and constitute a lien against the property of the person. One-half of the civil penalties collected inure to the benefit of the county. The criminal penalties collected pursuant to Section 48-1-320 must be collected and distributed pursuant to Section 14-1-205.