The S.C. Department of Environmental Control (DHEC) has extended a public-comment period concerning a cleanup of contamination from two plants located on CeramTec property in Laurens.
The first of at least two public meetings concerning contamination was held Feb. 6 at Laurens Elementary School. Another meeting is expected to be scheduled for sometime in March, said DHEC Project Manager Addie Walker.
DHEC is canvasing local residents to gauge support for its proposed cleanup plans. The agency’s preferred proposal would cost $2.4 million and includes an $800,000 cleanup at ACI Industries and a $1.6 million cleanup at CeramTec, both of which are located on the CeramTec campus at 1 and 2 Technology Place in Laurens.
Walker said the initial 30-day public-comment period has been extended until April 9, 2018. As those comments are collected, the second meeting for residents will be scheduled along with other meetings and testing.
“We’re going to set a date (for the meeting),” Walker said. “We’re going to go out into the community and sample two private wells and a spring, and we’re going to continue to talk with the community.”
After the public-comment period ends on April 9, DHEC officials will select the cleanup method they deem appropriate.
Among the concerns for DHEC is contamination from the chemical Tetrachlorethene, which is used widely in dry cleaning for fabrics and de-greasing.
According to DHEC, there are “two existing groundwater contamination plumes. One is originating from the materials handling area at (ACI). . . . The second plume originates from the soil near the side of (CeramTec).”
Both plumes consist of “almost the same contaminates,” which have migrated into the water table at ACI and into the water table and into the creek downgradient of CeramTec.
DHEC’s report reads:
“The primary risk to the public and the environment is from direct ingestion or exposure to the creek.”
The cleanup goals include preventing human ingestion of contaminated groundwater, minimize the time for groundwater to be restored to drinking water standards and decrease surface water contaminates among others.
More information about the cleanup project can be found at the Laurens County Library, which holds DHEC’s administrative record on the case, or online at scdhec.gov/publicnotices.
DHEC is accepting written comments via mail at DHEC, Bureau of Land & Waste Management, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, S.C. 29201. Also, Walker may be contacted by phone at 803-898-0722 or email at [email protected]