South Carolina Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

South Carolina Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Federal standards: South Carolina Code of Regulations (R.) 61-9.122.21

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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits: R. 61-9.122

Pretreatment standards: R. 61-9.403

Thermal limitations: R. 61-68.E

Discharge variances: R. 61-9.124.62

Regulatory Agencies

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Office of Environmental Quality Control Bureau of Water

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. South Carolina's regulations governing thermal discharges are water-quality-based and vary with the classification of the receiving water. The state generally follows EPA's federal permitting procedures for effluent limitations contained in NPDES permits. See the national section THERMAL DISCHARGES for more information.

The state also follows the federal pretreatment limits that prohibit heated discharges in amounts that will inhibit biological activity in a publicly owned treatment works (POTW). In no case may discharges cause the temperature at the POTW treatment plant to exceed 40°C (104°F) unless DHEC, upon request of the POTW, approves alternate temperature limits.

Administration and enforcement. DHEC's Bureau of Water administers and enforces the state's water quality program.

State Requirements


R. 61-68.E

South Carolina has adopted a general standard for thermal discharges that limits thermal discharges to the following criteria unless a different standard, mixing zone, or other exception has been established by DHEC:

  • Water temperatures of ...

Read more about Thermal Discharges