South Carolina's Septic Tank Guidelines: A Threat to Coastal Health?
South Carolina's tranquil coast, prized for its natural beauty and ecological diversity, is grappling with a new threat: pollution from uncontrolled septic tank permitting. The Coastal Conservation League, along with other environmental organizations in the state, have expressed reservations about South Carolina's septic policy, particularly its application within the coastal zone.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the agency responsible for issuing permits for septic tanks, has come under fire. The issue lies in the issuance of permits in coastal districts without the mandatory verification of compliance with state permits Coastal Zone Management Act. This law ensures that due consideration is given to the special conditions of the coastal zone, such as proximity to wildlife sanctuaries, etc coastal waterway.
A triple threat
Unregulated permitting of wastewater treatment plants in these areas poses a triple threat to coastal communities: pollution, flooding and environmental damage. These problems are exacerbated by South Carolina's rapid population growth. Of particular concern is the approval of 44 septic tank permits for the White Tract Development near the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, a decision made without public notice or review.
Call for legal and political reforms
In response to these alarming developments, environmental organizations have taken legal action. Their intent is to force DHEC to review septic tank permits for compliance with the Coastal Management Program and to increase transparency by publicly disclosing septic tank applications and permits in the coastal zone. They have also appealed to the DHEC board to review the decision to issue permits for the White Tract development.
These organizations advocate for policy reforms at both the local and state levels to curb the threat of septic tank pollution. Their mission is to ensure that the ecological value of South Carolina's coastal zone is preserved for future generations. As this battle unfolds, the outcome will undoubtedly have significant impacts on the health of coastal South Carolina and its residents.