South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Toxins on former Upstate power plant site concern SC activists
October 29th, 2019

By Taggart Houck, WYFF News

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Members of an environmental group are concerned about toxins in the Reedy River and they say it's coming from the site of a former power plant sold by Duke Energy in 1951.

The plant sits just off Bramlett Road in Greenville.

Leaders from the South Carolina Environmental Law Project participated in a forum discussion at Mountain View Baptist Church in Greenville Tuesday night. They presented findings from their participation in a three year study centering around the Reedy River and the former power plant.

Michael Corley, Upstate coordinator for the group, said it found high amounts of coal tar below the surface of the property. He said combined with rain water, toxins have been seeping in the Reedy River.

There was a cleanup effort around the year 2000 focused on the surface level, he said. But he said the land needs to be excavated.

If not, he said, the property will continue to allow toxins to flow into the river from the Unity Park area all the way into Lake Conestee.

"We're ready for action to take place and we're taking steps to drive that action," he said. "We're no longer satisfied and the community is no longer satisfied with watching that take place over decades."

A spokesman for Duke Energy said the company is committed to helping the effort.

"The Bramlett Road site is part of DHEC's Voluntary Cleanup Program," Spokesman Ryan Mosier said, in a statement to WYFF News 4. "We are currently performing an investigation to better define the extent of MGP-related impacts at the site. The current phase of the investigation was completed mid-year and a plan for additional assessment activities was submitted to DHEC in July 2019."

Mosier also said the company has spent nearly $7 million on the property for cleanup and research efforts.

He said the company is planning to conduct another study on the property early next month. It should be finished by 2020.

"We are committed to managing this project in a safe and responsible manner," he said. "We’re closely managing the whole process through repeated monitoring, routine water testing and coordination with DHEC."

A representative from the DHEC said the group would be willing to sit down with anyone from the community who's concerned.

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