State Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, has prefiled legislation which would establish new procedures for dam owners to determine if their structure falls under South Carolina law.
The bill, if approved, would authorize the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to issue an order when such a dam becomes dangerous to human life or property.
It’s the latest effort to revamp South Carolina’s dam regulations since unprecedented rainfall led to more than 60 small earthen dams failing in 2015 and 2016. The House approved a similar bill last year which failed to reach the Senate floor.
Campsen told South Carolina Radio Network that dams which do not pose harm to life or property should not be forced by the state to make unnecessary repairs. “Basically, exclude those from the regulatory regime that DHEC has been imposing on property owners, dam owners,” he said.
The legislation would provide exemptions when the dam does not pose a significant danger to human life or the property of someone other than the owner of the dam. “Address dams that present no danger to life or property,” Campsen said.
Senators will consider the bill in their upcoming session which begins Jan. 8.