New era in environmental protection launches with South Carolina Department of Environmental Services

July 1, 2024

The South Carolina Department of Environmental Services (SCDES) is officially launched as South Carolina’s new environmental protection agency. SCDES has specific roles and responsibilities for protecting and preserving the environment, and the agency is committed to achieving these goals for all South Carolinians through Science, Service and Sustainability.

The establishment of SCDES comes after the passing of state law that restructured the former South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) into two new state cabinet agencies on July 1, 2024: SCDES and the South Carolina Department of Public Health.

“I am so honored and excited to introduce South Carolinians to the new SCDES. We are a team of environmental experts whose work touches the lives, health, and prosperity of South Carolinians every day,” said Myra Reece, Interim Director of SCDES. “As South Carolina and other states across the nation are facing an ever-changing landscape of complex environmental challenges, being established as a separate environmental agency allows us to focus 100 percent of our attention and expertise on generating solutions that work for South Carolina.”

Interim Director Myra Reece and leadership staff with the newly established South Carolina Department of Environmental Services (SCDES) celebrate a sign unveiling for their new agency, headquartered at 2600 Bull Street in Columbia.

SCDES is comprised of five main environmental bureaus:

  • Bureau of Air Quality (BAQ)
  • Bureau of Coastal Management (BCM)
  • Bureau of Land and Waste Management (BLWM)
  • Bureau of Water (BOW)
  • Bureau of Regional and Laboratory Services (BRLS)

As part of the restructuring, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s hydrology and aquatic nuisance species programs are now part of SCDES’s Bureau of Water. SCDES has offices throughout the state where more than 1,200 employees perform essential services that protect the state’s environment.

While many of SCDES’s regulatory responsibilities will continue as they had under DHEC, SCDES is taking a new approach to its environmental oversight.

“While we are a team of scientists and environmental experts, eng

neers and geologists, we also are collaborators, educators and public servants,” said Fran Marshall, SCDES Director of Environmental Public Health. “Working together, our actions will continue our commitment to a healthy and sustainable South Carolina.”

The new website for SCDES is, and the main phone number and email for residents to contact the agency are 803-898-3432 and [email protected]. Constituent Services staff will respond to voicemails and emails.

Anyone can report an environmental concern, such as a chemical release or fish kill, using the online ReportIt! tool or by calling the main number. SCDES staff will follow-up on all reports received or will direct the concern to the appropriate agency if it’s not a matter within SCDES’s authority to address.

Staff have been proactively working to notify regulated businesses, permittees and stakeholders about the forthcoming establishment of SCDES for nearly a year, providing information and answering questions about issued permits and continued regulatory compliance requirements.

Environmental permits that were issued by DHEC prior to July 1, 2024, will continue to be valid after today. SCDES will update permits and certifications at the time of renewal or modification.

As the state’s environmental protection agency, SCDES seeks to strengthen and build community partnerships so that environmental issues can be addressed collaboratively and innovatively among stakeholders. The agency also will seek to strengthen communications with local governments facing environmental challenges.

“Some of the most beneficial environmental actions in our state have stemmed from innovations at the local level,” Reece said. “As SCDES, we look forward to continuing and enhancing our partnerships with the communities across our state.”

To learn more about the new SCDES and its roles, responsibilities and services, visit South Carolinians are encouraged to follow and engage with SCDES on Facebook, InstagramYouTube and LinkedIn using the agency’s handle: @SouthCarolinaDES.