Summerville residents concerned about airborne fibers

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SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Concerned families in Summerville are hoping to get some answers on airborne fibers in the area.

Lauscha Fiber International Corporation officials report Unifrax bought the plant here in Summerville in 2013.

Since opening the same year, some residents have been complaining about the air quality.

State health officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) hosted a community meeting Thursday evening, providing an update on those fibers found near the Lauscha Fiber plant.

"I live on Orangeburg Road off Highway 78," Summerville resident Miriam Birdsong said.

Through the woods and over the railroad tracks from the fiber plant is where you'll find her home.

"On a foggy day, their fumes will be at our house," Birdsong said."My family has been here for generations and I am outraged."

The Lauscha Fiber Plant is not the only concern.

"We have a huge concern putting fibers in the air. It's not good," Louis Smith said.

Smith is the executive director of the Community Resource Center in Summerville.

"If you look at the whole area, we have a boat plant. We have a lumber yard in the same area. This is a lot of pollutants going into the air. Our lungs can only take so much," Smith said.

Residents said this area has become too industrialized.

"Dorchester County in particular is becoming the dumping ground for the entire United States," Birdsong said. "Be responsible that what you do with your land is not going to hurt your neighbors."

"This is where growing families are located and they don't need to subject their children to the pollutants in the air," Smith said.

DHEC officials said the community's concerns are their concerns.

Workers installed multiple air quality monitoring systems near the plant, as well as throughout the entire area.

The results, thus far, show no air is problematic or a threat to public health.

DHEC also stated it is working with Lauscha Fiber on permits.

These permits would allow the plant to install new control equipment to help eliminate the fiber dust that escapes the plant, often landing on nearby property.

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