DHEC is Offering Residential Radon Measurement Training

September 28-29, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Spartanburg Community College

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will offer a two-day course on measuring radon in residential buildings.  The cost of the class is between $210 and $285 depending on whether you are seeking certification in South Carolina or multiple states.  The price includes the exam.  The course prepares you for the National Radon Proficiency Program and the National Radon Safety Board radon measurement certification exam.  You must pass an exam to be certified to measure radon in a home.  For more information and to register, click here.

Your Home Builders Association Successfully Amends DHEC Policy on Sediment Basins

In late 2013 the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control issued policy guidance on the installation of sediment basins.  The guidance document is designed to be an aid in designing and constructing sediment basins.  Many engineers use the guidance methods in their work for our developer members.

However, as is sometimes the case with generalized guidance, the design guideline worked well in some parts of the state, where soils drain rapidly, but note in the Upstate where the most common soil type is clay.

Your Home Builders Association met with Greenville County and City of Greenville engineering departments, and then with DHEC officials to propose alternatives that are more suitable to the Upstate.  Your Home Builders Association, in consultation with Greenville County Land Development Services, proposed additional language for DHEC’s policy guidance document.  After some editing, the guidance document for Sediment Basins now includes the following langage:

Guidance Disclaimer
This is a guidance document and may not be feasible in all situations.  Alternative means and methods for sediment basin design and construction also may be employed.

All means and methods must comply with the DHEC South Carolina NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities (Permit). Approved means and methods include those published and approved by an MS4 in compliance with the Permit.

In addition, a licensed Professional Engineer may design a sediment basin that, when constructed, accommodates the anticipated sediment loading from the land-disturbing activity and meets a removal efficiency of 80% suspended solids or 0.5 ML/L peak settable solids concentration, whichever is less, while remaining in compliance with the Permit.

Greenville County Land Development Services has published alternative guidance for Sediment Basins, which is available by clicking here.  A copy of DHEC’s Sediment Basin Guidance document with the disclaimer above can be viewed by clicking here.

This success is an example of the advocacy efforts that your Home Builders Association works on every day on behalf of our members and the Home Building industry.  Your Home Builders Association’s advocacy efforts save our members tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary development and building expenses each year.

Thank you for being a member of your Home Builders Association and supporting these advocacy efforts on your behalf.

HBA of Greenville works to resolve stormwater regulatory issues

Your HBA of Greenville is working to resolve regulatory issues for stormwater management.  This week President Rick Quinn, Executive Vice President Michael Dey, and HBASC Executive Director Mark Nix met with SCDHEC Commissioner Catherine Templeton to discuss the burdens that excessive stormwater regulation is having on home builders.

As a result, SCDHEC has agreed to participate in a Government Affairs Forum hosted by the HBA of Greenville.  HBA members and local government officials will have the opportunity to present to DHEC staff specific examples of how recently-adopted or proposed permits are exceeding requirements of law and negatively impacting home building.

Specifics of the Government Affairs Forum are:

When: July 25, 2013, 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Where: TD Convention Center, Woodside Conference Center

Commissioner Templeton has announced that she will attend the Government Affairs Forum.

DHEC Stormwater Permit issued effective January 1, 2013

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control issued the new NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities on October 15.  The new permit will be effective January 1, 2013.

There are changes to the new permit compared to the existing permit, although the changes were relatively minor.  As a result of the actions of NAHB, the Environmental Protection Agency dropped its plan to impose numeric limits on effluent.  Because the new permit is valid through 2017, any requirement to measure and limit effluent on construction sites will not be required in South Carolina before January 1, 2018.

To help HBA members understand the new permit, DHEC will hold three informational seminars:

  • Upstate: Monday, November 19, Chapman Cultural Center, 200 East St. John Street, Spartanburg (9 a.m. until 12 noon)
  • Midlands: Wednesday, November 28, Peeples Auditorium, DHEC Headquarters, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia (1 p.m. until 4 p.m.)
  • Coastal: Friday, November 30, Horry County Government Center, 1301 2nd Avenue, Conway (1 p.m. until 4 p.m.)

Design engineers, CEPSCI inspectors, and others involved in land development are encouraged to attend one of these free sessions.

Governor Haley signs law to reverse S.C. Supreme Court ruling that hurt home building

Home Builders scored a huge victory last week in Columbia.  Legislation (H.4654) to restore the integrity of the Pollution Control Act in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in the Smith Land Company case received final approval in the House and Senate this week. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on Wednesday, June 6th.

Under the Smith Land Company opinion, the Supreme Court held that a permit from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control was required on any discharge into the environment under the state’s Pollution Control Act. Further, the Court held that a private right of action exists that would allow any citizen to sue an alleged violator under the Act. Both of these interpretations are a significant change in the implementation of the Pollution Control Act and would have posed uncertainty in the regulatory process, cause significant harm to SC’s economic development efforts, and expose business and industry to environmental litigation.

A controversial move by environmentalists (from Julian Barton’s Legislative Report)
Several environmental groups were a party to the compromise that resulted in the Smith Land Company bill that passed.  Just as the bill was passing the SC House, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Waccamaw River Keeper, and the SC Coastal Conservation League filed a lawsuit against Santee Cooper in violation of the compromise language in the bill.

It was clear that the environmental community once again did not live up to their word!  The 11th hour sneak attack was not appreciated by legislators who had worked hard to craft a solution.  The environmentalists unrelenting attack on coal fired electric plants in South Carolina continues unabated.  South Carolina is moving from being energy independent to energy dependent!