By: Adah Gorton, Bureau of Land and Waste Management
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has specific programs that work to protect human health and the environment. From the extraction of natural resources to cleaning up accidents, the Bureau of Land and Waste Management (BLWM) focuses on the earth and the life cycle of material it generates. What does that mean to you? It means we keep the land you work, live and play on clean so you can be happy and healthy!
The Division of Mining and Solid Waste Management handles mining from beginning to end (including permitting and operating within legislation). It also oversees solid waste operations, including permitting and monitoring, planning, distribution of grants and regulation development as well as outreach and education on waste reduction and recycling. These are the folks who help your local solid waste operations function, teach schools and businesses how to recycle and maintain active mines.
Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) are used across the state to store gasoline and other fuels that we need daily but could pose a risk to the environment if not properly contained. The UST Management Division regulates USTs from the day they’re planned to the day they’re retired. This includes permitting as well as remediation efforts and oversight when leaks occur.
The Division of Waste Management issues permits and provides guidance for major projects that manage hazardous, radioactive and infectious waste. While some small-scale operations (e.g., a county household hazardous material collection site) are maintained by other entities, these folks take care of federal and state projects across the board, so you only have to worry about your household waste.
The Site Assessment, Remediation and Revitalization (SARR) Division manages the evaluation and restoration of sites where hazardous waste has polluted the environment. These sites include Brownfields, Superfund and State Voluntary Cleanup locations. SARR oversees cleanup work to be sure it is done according to state and federal standards. They ensure that when mistakes do happen, they’re cleaned up and the environment gets the attention it needs to get back to normal.
The Compliance and Enforcement Division tracks material-handling operations around the state, dealing with every other division contained in BLWM. This prevents the violation of environmental regulation and damage to the environment. The Enforcement area handles violations across the bureau, holding responsible parties accountable and making sure they fix their mistakes.
During Earth Month (April), BLWM focuses on outreach to help South Carolinians better care for their environment and encourages residents to contact us with any questions or requests. Just remember – from the creation of material to clean-up, BLWM protects the earth on Earth Day and every day!