South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Furman Students Call on Greenville Mayor to Clean Coal Tar Pit
Posted: April 17, 2019

After a class lecture from SCELP's Upstate Coordinator, Michael Corley, Furman University students were inspired to write to Greenville Mayor Knox White urging him to address the Bramlett site. Bramlett is the location of a former coal gasification facility that has contaminated wetlands and has the potential to cause significant pollution in the Reedy River.

Expressing Concern About the Lack of Cleanup at the Bramlett Road Former Manufactured Gas Site

Dear Mayor White and Ms. Lapidus,

I hope you are well. Thank you for all you do for Greenville. My name is Zach Hughes, and I am currently a third year student at Furman. I am proud to be a Greenville resident and often tell my friends and family who live in other places what a great place our city is. I know that you have the goal of making Greenville "the most beautiful and liveable city in America." With that in mind, I wanted to raise an issue that might be of concern to you.

I recently had a conversation at Furman University with several of my classmates and a lawyer named Michael Corley about a site off of Bramlett Road that used to house a manufactured gas site associated with Duke Energy. The site is concerningly located between the Reedy River and Legacy Charter Elementary School. A comparable manufactured gas site off of North Church Street (where Northampton Wine and Dine is now located) was the beneficiary of a major cleanup, but the Bramlett Road site did not receive this same benefit.

Duke Energy is wanting to opt for a strategy of "natural attenuation" at this site--in other words, testing but doing no cleanup efforts. 

This seems concerning to me, given that the coal sludge produced by the site may well have caused health issues for the community in the past and may also currently contribute to water contamination with chemicals like Benzene passing through the Reedy and on to Lake Conestee.

The area of the Bramlett site is receiving more attention lately because of the construction of Unity Park next door. With that in mind, this issue may already be on your radar, maybe even part of your agenda. If not, I just wanted to bring it to your attention, with the hope that you and others might be able to help confront this issue and make Greenville, a safer, better, more livable city for the good of all who call it home. 

Additionally, listed below are some signatures of equally concerned friends who signed onto this message with me. Thank you again for your service to our community. We are so grateful to call this place home.


Sydney Kittrell

Margot Fumo

Griffin Mills

Virginia Britt

Noelle Best

Bailey Bradford

Anne Hayden Wray

David Savini

Catherine Lippert

Sarah McLean

Allie Hargrove

Caroline Wolcott

Stewart Holler

Ryan O'Hara

Anna Ford Pittard

John Quinn


Zachary Hughes, Furman University '20

Entrance to the site

SCELP's Upstate Coordinator and Attorney Michael Corley led Girl Scout Troop 829 on a tour of the contaminated Bramlett site in Greenville County. The scouts learned about environmental justice, the value of wetlands, and groundwater contamination.

Unity Park's planned location

Zachary Hughes, Furman University '20