South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Focus Area: Water and Wetlands

Water and Wetlands Focus Area


With our work in this area we seek to prevent degradation of South Carolina's water resources through uses that would either pollute or result in a harmful decrease in availability of freshwater throughout the state. Water quality and quantity are two sides of the same coin.

  • Pawleys Island Church

    This case involves a previous Consent Order of Dismissal in which SCELP represented individuals seeking to prevent filling of wetlands associated with construction activities. As a result of a negotiated settlement agreement, the Church agreed to leave half of the onsite wetlands in a preserved state. However, in 2014 the Church received authorizations to proceed with additional construction activities that would eliminate all of the remaining onsite wetlands. We challenged those authorizations in the Administrative Law Court as inconsistent with and in violation of the Consent Order.

  • Surface Water Withdrawal Act

    In September 2014, on behalf of several riparian property owners, we went to Court to have DHEC's implementation of the Surface Water Withdrawal Act overturned where it allowed industrial farms to withdraw large amounts of water entirely unfettered by a regulating permitting process. While other landowners are losing their long standing water rights, industrial agriculture operations have been granted far superior rights with fewer restrictions, despite their use of extreme amounts of water, which all amount to the state permanently transferring public trust resources to private parties.



New Cruise Ship Terminal

The S.C. State Ports Authority is seeking to construct a new, expanded cruise ship terminal at Union Pier in the heart of the historic district of downtown Charleston. On behalf of a coalition of community groups, SCELP filed a challenge to the...

Arcadia Lakes

Roper Pond, LLC, owns a 15-acre tract on Trenholm Road in Richland County, bordering on the Town of Arcadia Lakes. Roper Pond proposes a high density apartment complex on the tract. The tract includes a nice shallow pond full of lily pads that is...

International Drive (Bays & Bears)

In August 2015, on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League and the SC Wildlife Federation, SCELP challenged the DHEC authorization for paving and expanding International Drive, a currently impassable dirt road in Horry County on and...

Oakridge Landfill

OCRM has issued a water quality certification and coastal zone consistency certification to Waste Management to perform work associated with the massive expansion of Oakridge Landfill located in Dorchester County. Particularly, Waste Management...

Deerfield - Storm Water & Wetlands

Deertrack Golf, Inc., owns a golf course in a mature Surfside Beach development known as Deerfield Plantation. Deertrack has entered into a contract to sell the golf course property to Bill Clark Homes. Bill Clark proposes to develop 287 lots on...

Greenville Water Systems

Greenville Water System (GWS) owns and operates two 30-inch raw water transmission mains for the purpose of transporting raw water from the Table Rock Reservoir in the South Saluda River to the GWS treatment plant in northern Greenville County....

Charlotte Sludge Case

DHEC recently granted the City of Charlotte a permit to dump its sewage sludge across thousands of acres of agricultural fields in Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster and York Counties. “Sludge” is the solid byproduct of wastewater treatment, and it...

Plum Island Expansion

We challenged a permit that would authorize the construction of 2,150 feet of force main pipe that would carry sewage over critical area salt marsh. The project is part of Charleston Water System's plans to fill in 8 to 10 acres of salt marsh to...

Moss

B & M Properties and Kenneth and Angela Moss applied for after-the-fact permits to fill in critical area salt marsh in connection with a bulkhead in Horry County. Moss represented Wayne Hill in our recent SC Supreme Court win where Hill illegally...

Cliffs Mountain Park

Cliffs Communities Inc. proposed to build a golf course community on a 5,000 acre tract in Greenville County, along the North Saluda River. The golf course was planned by Gary Player and the design calls for the piping, bridging (24 crossings by...

Ballentine First

In this case SCELP represented Ballentine First and several home owners living in the Ermo area of SC.

Norris Turkey Farm

A citizens group called Chesterfield Environmental Coalition, Inc., requested SCELP’s assistance in the appeal of an agricultural permit. The permit authorized two brooder turkey houses, as well as the disposal of the manure through a manure...

Colony Pointe

Home owners in the Colony Pointe community of Debordieu sought a permit allowing them to dredge the canals within that area. Dredging in Debordieu has been prohibited since 1998 by a court order that was issued in response to a similar permit...

Jasper Station

Jasper Station, LLC, owns approximately 80.0 acres in Jasper County, of which 30.0 acres are “isolated” wetlands. Because the wetlands are deemed “isolated” by the Corps of Engineers, no Clean Water Act Section 404 permit is required. However, a...

Litchfield Carolina Bay

Smith Land Company purchased a lot near Litchfield Country Club in Georgetown County. Plats for the lot show a portion of the lot as under water, and Smith Land Company obtained a wetland delineation saying that other portions of the lot were...

601 Bridge Federal Case

In 2006 the SC Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed to widen causeways and construct four new bridges for US Highway 601 within the Congaree National Park, South Carolina’s only National Park. The project would fill wetlands that are part...

Spectre

A development group, Spectre, LLC, requested a state permit and coastal zone certification to fill 31.76 acres of wetlands on a 62.93 acre tract of land in Murrells Inlet in Horry County. **The request would have converted this almost 32 acre...

Wayne Hill

A lot owner in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach illegally filled in approximately 1500 sq. ft. of salt marsh to make his lot bigger.

Wedgefield II

In 2003, Wedgefield Plantation Association (“Wedgefield”) applied for a navigable waters permit, coastal zone consistency certification and water quality certification to dredge canals within Wedgefield and place the spoil material in 14.92 acres...

601 Bridge State Case

In 2006 the SC Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed to widen causeways and construct four new bridges for US Highway 601 within the Congaree National Park, SC’s only National Park. The project would fill wetlands that are part of a...

Riverside

SCELP represents the Coastal Conservation League and the Georgetown County League of Women Voters in challenging a project that would allow dredging of vegetated critical area salt marsh.

Nationwide Permit Certification Appeal

Under the Clean Water Act ("CWA"), the Corps of Engineers can issue nationwide permits ("NWP") for activities purportedly having minor impacts to waters and wetlands of the U.S. The CWA also gives DHEC authority to review these nationwide permits...

Central Electric Power Line

On behalf of the Winyah Rivers Foundation, SCELP has challenged DHEC´s certification of a project that would rip through more than 14 acres of beautiful, mature forested wetlands and floodplains across pristine Lane´s Creek and the Black River –...

Pawleys Island Golf Club

SCELP represented the Georgetown County League of Women Voters in the appeal of a coastal zone consistency certification to allow filling a 1.29 acre wetland for a redesigned golf course in Georgetown County. For projects like this, our Coastal...

Carolina Bays Parkway

SCELP is local counsel working with the Southern Environmental Law Center to represent the SC Coastal Conservation League and the Waccamaw Audubon Society in a potential suit for violations under the Clean Water Act that occurred during...

Wedgefield Plantation

Wedgefield Plantation Homeowners Association ("WPHA") applied for a permit to dredge the man-made canals within the community, and to place the dredged material in 15 acres of freshwater wetlands adjacent to the Black River in Georgetown County.

Wake Stone Mine

Challenge (on behalf of local group, Round Swamp Concerned Citizens) to permit for open-pit de-watered limestone mine in area prone to sinkholes. This case is pending in state court in Horry County. The legal issues are whether the SC Mining...

Colleton County

Colleton County´s proposed Buzz Aldrin Business and Technology Park requested to fill in almost 30 acres of isolated freshwater wetlands for a commercial development. SCELP asked DHEC to deny the permit because it was entirely inconsistent with...

Creekside Cottages

This case is an appeal of a permit issued to Charles E. Cox/Creekside Cottages to fill wetlands that drain into Parsonage Creek in Murrells Inlet. SCELP is representing the SC Coastal Conservation League, the League of Women Voters of Georgetown...

Inlet Oaks

This was an appeal of a permit issued to Inlet Oaks Development Corporation for the dredging of a canal, bulkheading, several docks and relocation of a boat ramp in a dead-end, man-made canal off Main Creek in Murrells Inlet. We represented the...

Carl DiPace

We have been assisting a commercial shellfisher in protecting his shellfish lease area from violations of the SC Coastal Zone Management Act. The violator has formally agreed to remove the unpermitted structure and restore the disturbed area.

Isolated Freshwater Wetlands

After the 2001 Supreme Court decision, Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, took away federal jurisdiction over isolated freshwater wetlands, the state's ability to regulate these wetlands has faced legal...

Cherry Grove/Heritage Shores

In 1998, SCELP filed an appeal of permits for wetland fill, bridging, and development of a filled-in marsh area in North Myrtle Beach; our clients are two groups and a large number of individuals loosely allied as neighbors; after winning our...

DeBordieu Canal Dredging

We challenged a dredging permit that authorized the dredging of salt marsh and oyster beds in DeBordieu Colony in Georgetown County.  That case resulted in elimination of dredging salt marsh and oyster beds, and a requirement that all dredging...

Bohicket Creek/Andell Harbor Marina

The owner of a large tract of land at the entrances to Seabrook and Kiawah Islands wanted to enhance a development through a massive earth moving operation. SCELP represented the SC Coastal Conservation League (CCL) in challenging the...

Fishing Creek, York County

The Fishing Creek Basin Committee, a York county citizens group represented by SCELP, successfully challenged wastewater discharge permits issued by DHEC, in part because of the agency's violation of section 208 planning requirements contained in...

IP/Dioxin

In the mid-1980's, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) learned that some paper mills were discharging dioxin into streams with the mills' wastewater. In 1988, EPA conducted a comprehensive study of the effluent of all 104 of the nation's...

League of Women Voters v. Litchfield-by-the-Sea

SCELP represented the League of Women Voters in challenging a coastal zone consistency certification. Reversing a lower court rejection, the South Carolina Supreme Court denounced the limitation on citizens’ rights to notice, hearing and judicial...

Willbrook Dredging

One of the first two cases the newly established SCELP took on in 1987. Litchfield-by-the-Sea had applied for permits to dredge two miles of canals through wetlands adjacent to the Waccamaw River, to provide river access to residential lots in...