103 systems serving 2,236,545 people
  This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by water utilities in South Carolina, provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control. It is part of EWG's national database that includes 47,667 drinking water utilities and 20 million test results from 45 states and the District of Columbia. Water utilities nationwide detected more than 300 pollutants between 2004 and 2009. More than half of these chemicals are unregulated, legal in any amount. Despite this widespread contamination, the federal government invests few resources in protecting rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater from pollution in the first place. The information below summarizes drinking water quality for this state.

Water Utilities
Population Served
Detected Chemicals
Exceed health guidelines*
Exceed Legal Limits*
Unregulated chemicals detected
* Water utilities are noted as exceeding the legal limit if any test is above the maximum contaminant level (MCL). Most MCLs are based on annual averages so exceeding the MCL for one test does not necessarily indicate that the system is out of compliance.

  15 Contaminants Exceeding Health Based Limits

Contaminants detected in South Carolina drinking water above health guidelines, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of data obtained from state water authorities

Number of Systems
At Any Level Above Health Limits At Any Level Above Health Limits
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs) 672,308 669,001 62 61
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) 682,992 584,991 76 29
Dibromochloromethane 442,951 442,951 7 7
Lead (total) 376,720 376,720 14 14
Radium-228 246,418 246,418 56 56
Radium-226 216,518 216,518 40 40
Bromodichloromethane 115,331 115,331 6 6
Dichloroacetic acid 110,150 110,150 6 6
Chloroform 442,951 92,266 7 4
Trichloroacetic acid 437,770 81,833 7 3

  Sources of South Carolina Drinking Water Contaminants

The contaminants identified in South Carolina drinking water come from a wide variety of sources, including agriculture, industry, water treatment plants, and polluted storm runoff from urban areas.

21 Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2008)
1 Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)


4 Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Copper, Lead (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate

8 Industrial Pollutants

Lead (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Alpha particle activity (incl. radon & uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Radium-226, Radium-228

12 Water Treatment and Distribution Byproducts
(pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts)

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Dichloroacetic acid, Trichloroacetic acid, Bromoform, Dibromoacetic acid, Monochloroacetic acid, Bromochloroacetic acid, Monobromoacetic acid

9 Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Lead (total), Radium-228, Radium-226, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Alpha particle activity (incl. radon & uranium), Mercury (total inorganic)

2 Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Lead (total), Bromochloroacetic acid

  Testing Summary for South Carolina

The federal government has set standards for some of the pollutants found in tap water supplies.

Contaminants reported as tested by water suppliers in South Carolina 133
  Contaminants tested due to federal law: 87
  Contaminants tested in addition to those required by federal law: 46
  Violation Summary for South Carolina

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in South Carolina since 2004.

Violation Type Number of Violations
Failure to monitor, Routine Major (Coliform bacteria) 298
Over maximum contaminant level, Average 266
Maximum contaminant level, Monthly (Coliform bacteria) 159
Failure to report information to the public or state agency in the Consumer Confidence Report 150
Follow-up and Routine Tap Sampling 97
Failure to monitor, Routine Minor (Coliform bacteria) 42
Failure to monitor, Repeat Major (Coliform bacteria) 41
Failure to monitor regularly 30
Initial Water Quality Parameter Monitoring and Reporting 27
Monitoring and Reporting Disinfection Byproduct Rule 26
Failure to monitor, Repeat Minor (Coliform bacteria) 19
Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Study Recommendation 9
Public Education 8
Filter Turbidity Reporting 7
Over maximum contaminant level, Single Sample 7
Failure to notify public of violation 7
Treatment Technique Precursor Removal 6
Maximum contaminant level, Acute (Coliform bacteria) 5
Excess Turbidity at 1 NTU 4
Initial Tap Sampling for Lead and Copper 4
Excess Turbidity at 0.3 NTU 3
Water Quality Program Entry Point Non-Compliance 3
Acute maximum residual disinfectant level 1
Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Installation/Demonstration 1
Other Non-National Primary Drinking Water Regulations Potential Health Risks 1
Failure to monitor or report, Routine/Repeat (Indicators of microbial or virus contamination) 1

Sources : EWG (Environmental Working Group)