South Carolina's Flagship University

Regulatory Pathfinder
for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Water Quality Management and Water Quality Monitoring Requirements

According to S.C. Code Regs. 30-12(E)(3)(b), the basic Water Quality Management standards regarding marinas include:

  1. At each marina there must be adequate working wastewater pump-out facilities unless OCRM has granted a specific exemption in writing. The facilities must be able to handle all the wastewater generated at the marina. A reasonable fee may be charged by the marina operator for the use of these pump-out facilities;
  2. To discourage any overboard discharge of sewage from boats adequate bathroom facilities must be provided. The number of required toilets will be determined by the nature and size of the marina and its specific location. For all marinas with 100 or fewer slips 2 toilets and 1 lavatory for women and 1 toilet, 1 urinal and 1 lavatory for men is required. Unless mitigating circumstances exist OCRM shall require 1 toilet and 1 lavatory for women and 1 toilet, 1 urinal and 1 lavatory for men for every additional 100 slips or fraction thereof. Toilet facilities must be located in places that encourage their use. If restaurants, motels, laundries or other nonwater-dependent structures are located in close proximity to the marina additional facilities may be required.The public notice must include all pump-out and sewage facilities and they must also be certified in writing by OCRM;
  3. OCRM must approve, in writing, all plans for potable water to be supplied to marina docks;
  4. Fueling systems for marina boats must have emergency cutoffs at the harbor master's office, tank, and dock's edge;
  5. Adequate booms to isolate any oil spill around the fuel dock, leaking boat or sunken boat must be available, depending on the size and type of boats using the marina;
  6. Absorbent pads must be available at the marina for boat use and for removing incidental spills during fueling operations;
  7. Unless sewage is treated by a Marine Santiation Device and complies with applicable State and federal laws and regulations the discharge of sewage from boats is prohibited. It is prohibited, without limitation, to discharge any kind of waste into State waters, including garbage, refuse, trash or debris;
  8. Separate, adequate containers for garbage must be available at the marina. The containers must be maintained daily. Toxic substance containers must not be placed over or near the water;
  9. Any boat repairs, paint scraping, boat painting, and other activities that could result in a discharge of waste or pollutants into State waters is prohibited;
  10. Within a permitted marina one reasonably sized dock master's office may be constructed. The office will be limited to water dependent uses only, such as fuel sales. This office may have restrooms but cannot have food and beverage services, clothing sales or other non-water dependent uses. S.C. Code Regs. 30-12(E)(3)(b).

According to S.C. Code Regs. 30-12(E)(3)(c), the Water Quality Monitoring standards regarding marinas include:

  1. OCRM will determine the specific program. Any changes must be OCRM approved. Sampling results must be supplied to OCRM. OCRM can discontinue or waive any program if it is shown that such information is not necessary to insure adequate protection of coastal resources;
  2. Monitoring requirements must be tailored to the marina based on factors such as flushing, existing water quality, presence of shellfish, number of slips, and presence of fueling facilities;
  3. The minimum standard monitoring program consists of an annual sediment analysis. Samples must be taken once a year between June and August. A minimum of one composite sample must be taken within the confines of the marina and one outside. OCRM and the DNR must approve, in writing, all sampling sites. Samples must be analyzed for polyaromatic hydrocarbons, copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, chromium, and any other parameters ODRM requires;
  4. Other parameters may be required for marinas in poorly flushed areas. These parameters may include dissolved oxygen or fecal coliform bacteria. Monitoring requirements will be determined on a site-specific basis based on the factors listed in #2 above;
  5. Sampling requirements will be reviewed periodically and may be increased or decreased as the situation warrants.

Last Updated October 29, 2010


This project was supported through a generous grant from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. The principal investigator is Professor Kim Diana Connolly at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Two law students, Keith Bartlett and Valerie Cochran, provided invaluable work toward project completion. Technical assistance with web design was provided by USC School of Law webmaster Tobias Brasier. Broken links should be reported to lawweb@law.sc.edu. This website is NOT intended as legal advice, and particularized analysis by professionals should be sought wherever appropriate.