EDGEFIELD, S.C. -- The Edgefield County School District was ordered by environmental regulators today to take immediate steps to clean up and close an unlicensed landfill on county-owned property near Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton (JET) Middle School.
We informed them we expect them to begin cleanup as soon as they can get someone there, or as soon as they can hire someone to start the removal process, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control, which regulates solid waste activities throughout the state. That means today.
DHEC investigators were sent to the site on Monday, where they documented and photographed a variety of waste in a large, excavated pit that contained among other things construction debris, domestic garbage, roofing materials, old appliances, aerosol cans, chemical sprayers and some tires.
We have verbally notified Mr. (James) Courtney, director of maintenance operations for the school district, that this site is not permitted as a landfill and as such, we are requiring them to clean up that property immediately.
DHEC is also opening an investigation into the origins and operations of the facility. Further action will be taken from that investigation, he said. The information is being compiled into a report that will relayed to Columbia for further action.
In addition to ordering a cleanup of the site, DHEC also has the authority to impose fines or other penalties associated with illegal disposal of waste materials.
Mr. Courtney, contacted today, acknowledged that the school district uses the site, but said school officials did not dump all the solid waste there.
The (school) district uses the hole for yard and wood debris burning, he said. Unfortunately, we were unable to control others adding to the debris.
He said school officials are seeking an estimate for the removal of the material. It should not take more than a day for cleanup, he said.