SCE&G focuses energy on new site for coal ash landfill

GROVER, SC (WCSC) - The battle over the construction of a coal ash landfill in Colleton County may be over but the fight is just beginning across the Edisto River in Dorchester County.

Six months ago, hundreds of concerned citizens met at City Hall in Walterboro to fight SCE&G's proposed coal ash landfill.

After plenty of debate and several votes, the landfill idea was dumped. At least in that part of Colleton County.

SCE&G's new landfill focus is now in their backyard, about 15 minutes North of Walterboro at their pre-existing Canady's Station.

"I know I don't want it," says Jimmy Murray, a resident of the closest town to the proposed site.

Murray has lived in the small town of Grover his entire life, which lies three miles away from SCE&G's property where the new landfill is being proposed.

"If Colleton County didn't want SCE&G... to dump this dry ash into their county," says Murray. "Why would we want it?"

The answer? Because they've already had it.

For more than 30 years, SCE&G's Canady's plant has pumped wet coal ash across the Edisto River into two coal ash ponds in northern Dorchester County, which is the site the power company is proposing to build on.

"We understand that people just don't know yet and that might be the cause for concern," says SCE&G Public Affairs Supervisor Robert Yanity.

"This is not an additional landfill or storage facility, this is actually taking the old ash pond and digging out the ash," Yanity says.  "It's making it a much more environmentally friendly storage facility."

But Murray doesn't believe changing the consistency from wet to dry coal ash is safer.

"The EPA and DHEC and all of them on board think bringing this in is the greatest thing since grits," says Murray. "I'm still concerned."

And others in the small town of Grover feel the same way.

"I've talked to several people in this community," says life long resident John Shieder. "A lot of people are scared of it because they don't know what they're getting into."

The site where SCE&G wants to build is on their property and the plans call for a 100-acre dry coal ash landfill that will be less than 100 feet high. SCE&G says the site will not accept coal ash from any other site.

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