April 28, 2023

A Critical Time for Solutions on Septic - April 2023 E-News

Dear Friend,

Earlier this week, I was able to get out in my kayak on the peaceful, dark waters of the Black River with some of SCELP's staff and supporters. It was a beautiful time to be in nature. Last Friday, SCELP also participated in Lowcountry Earth Week. Together with our event partners, we gathered with nearly 50 participants to do a litter sweep on the banks of Gadsden Creek. In less than an hour, the group picked up 2,840 items (about 270 pounds!), 65% of which was plastic. I hope you had a wonderful Earth Day weekend and found some time to enjoy the outdoors, too!

Our Lawyers for the Wild Side have been busy writing briefs, combing through documents and prepping for hearings. As you'll read below, septic issues have been pushed into the spotlight and we continue to work with Coastal Conservation League and Charleston Waterkeeper on actions to show that DHEC has a statutory obligation to review septic tank applications for consistency with the Coastal Management Program.

Our annual Giving Day campaign is coming up next week! This year, it will span two days and two events: Palmetto Giving Day and Midlands Gives. We hope that you will consider making a donation - your impact will be doubled thanks to generous donors who have agreed to match donations on May 2-3. As always, we are very grateful for your support and your interest in our work.

New Case: RV Park Septic Permit

A proposed RV park in northern Spartanburg County threatens water quality

On behalf of multiple homeowner associations, we are challenging the South Carolina Administrative Law Court’s decision to reinstate a septic system permit for a proposed RV park in northern Spartanburg County. Per DHEC standard calculations, more than two million gallons per year of septic effluent would be discharged into the ground on the site, which is adjacent to a creek and thousands of acres of protected land.

DHEC staff initially approved the permit, but the DHEC Board overruled staff and revoked the permit, having determined that the developer’s septic system design did not meet DHEC’s regulations for capacity. The developer then filed an appeal with the Administrative Law Court, where a judge reinstated the permit. SCELP is now representing the HOAs in their appeal of the ALC decision. Read more...

Coastal Septic Preliminary Injunction Filed

DHEC should evaluate septic permits for consistency with the Coastal Management Program

On November 10, 2022, SCELP filed a declaratory judgment action on behalf of Charleston Waterkeeper and the Coastal Conservation League, asking the Charleston County Circuit Court to rule as a matter of law that DHEC has a statutory obligation to review all septic tank applications for coastal zone consistency, as they do for almost every other type of permit in the eight-county coastal zone.

In a new filing this morning, the groups are seeking to prevent DHEC from issuing permits for larger scale septic tank clusters along the coast until this case is resolved. The goal of the request is to inhibit irreparable harm stemming from the issuing of individual septic system permits within large residential developments while the groups wait for a ruling on the initial action. Read more...

Taking Action Against Illegal Wetland Filling

Fighting violations of the Clean Water Act in Georgetown County

On Wednesday, April 12, we sent a Notice of Intent to Sue to two property owners on Renty Tucker Court in the Hagley Estates subdivision in Pawleys Island for violations of the Clean Water Act. After concerned citizen and neighbor Nick Stines alerted SCELP, an investigation showed that each of the two owners in question committed separate violations: one owner exceeded the scope of his Nationwide Permit by filling more wetlands than was authorized; the other owner filled wetlands without obtaining any federal CWA authorization.

Both properties are bounded in part by jurisdictional forested wetlands owned by the Georgetown County Environmental Protection Society. These wetlands are contiguous with and have a direct surface water connection to the Waccamaw River. The surrounding wetlands and forests are also an important habitat for a diverse array of wildlife and provide critical protection against flooding. Read more...

Double your support on May 2-3! Every donation to SCELP helps protect special places and communities around our state. This May 2-3 that is twice as true. Donations up to $75,000 via Palmetto Giving Day or Midlands Gives will be matched 1:1, doubling your impact!

Can’t wait till May 2? Early giving for Midlands Gives is open now. Thank you for helping to secure more wins #ForTheWildSide. Have questions or comments? Contact Donor Relations Manager Alison Geer at alison@scelp.org or 843-527-0078.

Read Original Article

Download Below

be in the know

Receive SCELP news in your inbox or mailbox.

All rights reserved 2022.