PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. – Several upstate lawmakers and residents want to stop an out-of-state company from dumping tons of toxic coal ash alongside a local highway.
North Carolina-based MRR Pickens LLC entered into an agreement with Pickens County in 2007 to build a landfill to dump construction debris. But local lawmakers said the company informed the county a few weeks ago that it also plans to dump coal ash on the site.
“They certainly weren’t up front with the residents,” said State Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens. “I don’t think they were up front with the county council.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, coal ash contains toxic chemicals such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic.
That’s one of the reasons Martin and other members of the Pickens County Legislative Delegation sent a letter to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Dec. 29 urging the agency to deny the company’s permit to dump coal ash on the site.
“There’s a real concern, particularly in the transportation of it, that it could harm the environment,” Martin said.
Residents in the area are also opposed to the proposal to dump coal ash.
“I think it’s very harmful,” said Perry White, who lives near the proposed site. “I understand that waste has to be dumped somewhere, but I think a more environmental plan could be put through and a better decision could be made.”
The only number listed for MRR Pickens LLC was disconnected.
In an email to 7 News Thursday night, DHEC said it has not yet made a decision on MRR Pickens LLC’s permit, but said it would seek public input before making a final decision.
The Pickens County Council plans to meet to discuss the landfill on Monday Night.