Moncks Corner residents raising a stink over smell from waste plant

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - Longtime Moncks Corner resident Rozlyn Pinner finds it hard to sleep at night.

"It's just overwhelming," she said.

Pinner is among a growing list of residents in Berkeley County complaining of a strong odor from nearby waste disposal facility GenEarth.

"You could compare it to having a sewage leakage under your house."

GenEarth opened along Oakley Road in Moncks Corner in November of 2012. The facility specializes in the disposal of wastewater residuals, food processing wastes and the byproducts of local food service businesses.

The waste is then recycled to produce electricity, which is fed back into a power grid managed by Santee Cooper.  The facility also produces a fertilizer-like product, or a soil amendment, intended for use in agricultural fields.

"We were promised that it wasn't going to disrupt us and it has," Pinner added.

Employees of the plant say the complaints started not long after operations began in early 2013.  At that time, the facility invested in an odor removal system, which some say reduced the stinch.

In recent months, a sub-contractor for GenEarth has begun to spread its soil amendment on agricultural fields in Berkeley County.  Employees believe the method being used to spread the product is the cause behind its most recent complaints.

In a statement released to Live 5 News, the plant expects the process to last another week before moving to a more rural area.  They say they are also working toward a permit to use a new process to spread its materials, and also look to purchase new equipment that should minimize the odor from its by product.

Earlier this month, Moncks Corner Town administrator Mark Hehn reached out to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, or DHEC, regarding the smell.  The Department requires a permit for wastewater facilities like GenEarth, with specific guidelines regarding odor control.

Hehn cited a potential DHEC violation in light of recent complaints.

In a response, the department said it was working with GenEarth on a "process related to the odor at the facility and at land application sites."

The details of that process have not been made available at this time.

Meanwhile, residents like Rozlyn Pinner just want the smell gone.

"What they're doing is great. I just do not want to smell it."

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