DHEC tells owner of Jasper County debris pile to close

Drone footage of a debris pile in Jasper County, S.C. that was burning for weeks.
Drone footage of a debris pile in Jasper County, S.C. that was burning for weeks.(WTOC)
Updated: Sep. 11, 2019 at 4:22 PM EDT
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JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A debris recycling facility that caught fire in Jasper County must shut down and tell state health officials how it will clear the site.

Able Contracting has until Sept. 18 to submit a plan with those details to the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control. The department released that information Wednesday - a day after WTOC Investigates reported how state health officials for years fell short of enforcement at the facility, despite years of complaints, until it caught fire this summer.

South Carolina State Senator Tom Davis has estimated the clean-up could cost taxpayers $4.5 million.

In a letter sent to Able Contracting on Sept. 3, state health officials asked for cleanup plan to “remove all remaining materials at this location and perform any additional closure activities necessary to ensure that no environmental contamination remains as a result of previous operations.”

The letter is dated Sept. 3, more than a month after Able Contracting withdrew its application with the state to become a permitted solid waste processing facility. By that point, it was the facility’s only option to continue operations after a 2018 change to the South Carolina Solid Waste Act. The change tightened regulations for Recovered Material Processing Facilities, like Able Contracting’s, which up until then had been able to operate without permits and largely skirt regulation under a voluntary registration process with the state.

You can view the letter below:

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