In South Carolina, recreational vessel sewage discharge is regulated by both the federal and state government:

Federal: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates vessel sewage discharges into the U.S. navigable waters through implementation of Clean Water Act (CWA) section 312 and its associated regulations. Under this section, vessel sewage is controlled by regulating the equipment that treats or holds the sewage (marine sanitation devices), and through the establishment of areas in which the discharge of sewage from vessels is not allowed (no discharge zones).


State: The SC Pollution Control Act (Section 48-1-90; causing or permitting pollution of environment prohibited) regulates the discharge from vessel sewage in South Carolina.

Regulations that are relevant to recreational boaters in South Carolina include:

  • It is illegal to discharge UNTREATED sewage from vessels within all navigable waters of the United States, including the navigable waters of South Carolina.
  • It is illegal for houseboats to discharge TREATED OR UNTREATED sewage into the freshwaters of South Carolina.

A violation of these sections of the SC Pollution Control Act is a criminal misdemeanor that imposes a fine up to $200 dollars per day.

Additional information on the Clean Water Act Section 312

Additional information on the SC Pollution Control Act