May 5, 2023

Anna Harris

New Court Filing Could Put Pause on Coastal Waterway Development

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Environmental Law Project has filed a preliminary injunction against the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to put a pause on developments with septic tanks near coastal waterways.

The injunction seeks a hearing on a lawsuit filed a few months ago by the South Carolina Environmental Law Project on behalf of the Charleston Waterkeeper and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, two Lowcountry environmental organizations. They filed the suit against DHEC claiming the organization has not been monitoring hundreds of septic tanks and their impact on water quality.

If a judge grants this preliminary injunction, all proposed developments within 200 feet of coastal waterways will be put to a halt. That is, if they use a septic system for their water and sewage.

An example of this is two large residential subdivisions of more than 400 septic tanks coming next to the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in Awendaw. Andrew Wunderley, executive director of Charleston Waterkeeper, says if that development moves forward, water quality and wildlife will suffer.

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