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Regulatory Pathfinder for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Nationwide Permits #18 and 19: Minor Discharges and Minor Dredging

Certain activities may be able to proceed in a streamlined manner pursuant to federal requirements by complying with Nationwide Permits (NWPs) issued as authorized by Clean Water Act Section 404(e). All NWPs require that an authorized activity or project must meet regional conditions and general conditions that exist on a national level.

The explanations below apply to NWPs #18 and #19.

#18 Minor Discharges

Minor discharges of dredged or fill material into all water of the United States may be allowed under NWP # 18, provided the activity meets all the following criteria:

  1. The quantity of discharged material and the volume of area excavated may not exceed 25 cubic yards below the plane of the ordinary high water mark or the high tide line;
  2. The discharge may not cause the loss of more than 1/10 acre of waters of the United States or of a special aquatic site; and,
  3. The discharge is may not be placed for the purpose of a stream diversion.
  4. In addition, the permittee must submit a pre-construction notification (PCN) to the District Engineer prior to commencing the activity if: (1) the discharge or the volume of area excavated exceeds 10 cubic yards below the plane of the ordinary high water mark or the high tide line, or (2) the discharge is in a special aquatic site, including wetlands.
  5. The discharge, including all attendant features, both temporary and permanent, must be part of a single and complete project.
    The Joint Application or other submission seeking permission to proceed pursuant to this permit must include:
    1. The name, address, and telephone numbers of the prospective permittee;
    2. Location of the proposed project;
    3. A brief description of the proposed project; the purpose of the project; any direct and indirect adverse environmental effects the project may have; and any other NWPs, regional general permits or individual permits that will be used or has been used to authorize the project;
    4. Sketches when necessary to show the project complies with the terms of the NWP;
    5. A delineation of affected special aquatic sites, including wetlands.

#19 Minor Dredging

NWP #19 may authorize the dredging of no more than 25 cubic yards below the plane of the ordinary high water mark or mean high water mark from navigable waters of the U.S. as part of a single and complete project. This NWP does not authorize the dredging or degradation through siltation of coral reefs, sites that support submerged aquatic vegetation (including sites where such vegetation is known to exist though it is not present in a given year), anadromous fish spawning areas, or wetlands, or the connection of canals or other artificial waterways to navigable waters of the United States.

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.