Originally created 11/21/02

Residents can discuss SRS emissions

AIKEN - A hearing tonight at Silver Bluff High School will give the public an opportunity to air its concerns on Savannah River Site air quality issues.

The meeting is mandatory to gain continued permitting by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Carl Richardson, the director of DHEC's engineering services division, said SRS is in compliance with state and federal air standards.

The permitting renewal reflects a change in the law requiring consolidated licensing. Sites emitting pollution used to be licensed individually.

SRS emits a number of different toxins into the environment as part of its yearly operations, but the state wants to make sure they are in quantities too small to harm humans or wildlife.

Among groups expected to speak in opposition to the permitting is the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

According to a news release issued by the group, "The new air pollution permit for SRS would allow over 13 million pounds of toxic air pollution to be dumped into the air every year."

The group contends the cumulative effect from radioactive processing plants, coal-fired power plants, diesel generators, soil vapor extraction units and a waste incinerator on the Department of Energy reserve is an increased danger to public health.

"(SRS) is held to the same standards as any other industrial activity would be in the state," Mr. Richardson said.

He said the meeting is meant for the public to present potential flaws in the permitting, rather than as a question-and-answer session, but he said questions are welcome before and afterward.

Reach Eric Williamson at (803) 279-6895 or eric.williamson@augustachronicle.com.

A public hearing on SRS air emissions will be at 7 p.m. today at Silver Bluff High School, 64 DeSoto Drive in Aiken.


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