Controversial ‘sludge’ disposal draws friends, foes in four S.C. counties

Posted February 26, 2013 9:57 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

More than 300 people turned out Tuesday night in Chester County for a public hearing on the controversial topic of spreading bio solids in four upstate counties.

Since 2000, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has allowed a Charlotte-based company to spread treated sewage on 99 farms in York, Chester, Lancaster and Fairfield Counties.

Farmers like John Williams told the state agency the bio solids act as a natural fertilizer.

But the sewage is not as popular among those who live next to those farms and have to deal with the pungent odor that comes courtesy of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department.

CMUD’s permit with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to spread the treated sewage expired in 2010 and Tuesday night, the agency held a public hearing on the permitting process.

Chester County Realtor Liz Odum said the bio solids have a grave effect on much more than quality of life.

South Carolina transplant Dennis Summers said he is battling cancer, and feels nearby farms that allow the sludge are a detriment to his health.

While Chester resident Amy Proctor said she once worked in a wastewater plant and says bio solids are no harm to people, animals or the environment.

DHEC Spokesman Jim Beasley said all his agency did last night was listen to what interested parties had to say.

Written comments to DHEC are due by March 1.

Beasley said the agency will do its diligence and listen to all sides of the issue before rendering a decision on a new bio solid permit at a later date.