South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

DeWees Island Development

In 1991, SCELP assisted the SC Coastal Conservation League in protecting water quality and shellfish in the waters around DeWees Island in Charleston County. DeWees Island is a barrier island just north of the Isle of Palms, accessible only by water. The owner of the island wanted to add dozens of houses and convinced DHEC to permit a sewage treatment system which amounted to a giant septic tank for 80 homes.

The Dewees developer planned a community septic tank system, since the island's soil conditions would not support individual septic tanks. CCL and SCELP appealed the permit for the system after an initial review raised concerns that harmful fecal bacteria would contaminate the shellfish harvesting waters surrounding the island.

After a hearing during which CCL's septic tank expert described flaws in the proposed system, the developer was ready to settle. The settlement involved incorporating all of the design changes suggested by the expert. DeWees has since earned and maintained the reputation as one of the state's most environmentally sensitive developments.

DeWees Island Development