DHEC holds community meeting to address Charleston Co. Landfill concerns

State and county officials addressed ongoing community concerns about a West Ashley landfill Tuesday.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 11:10 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 11:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - State and county officials addressed ongoing community concerns about a West Ashley landfill Tuesday.

After failing multiple inspections, officials from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control held a community meeting Tuesday night to address concerns that have been brought to their attention.

Since October, the landfill, located on Bees Ferry Road, has continued to fail inspections for controlling litter, application of soil cover and compactors being down.

People who live in the area heard from DHEC and Charleston County officials Tuesday about the current state of the landfill, and how they plan to address these issues moving forward.

State health department officials explained that during the most recent inspection of the landfill on March 20 they concluded the litter was being “actively managed.” Officials also said the bird deterrent process was ongoing and additional soil cover was being applied, but exposed litter remained.

Thomas Cue, the newly appointed director of the landfill, spoke during Tuesday’s meeting. He said they’re working to improve landfill conditions, including adding large fences to catch blowing trash, applying additional soil cover and hiring an employee to monitor and remove standing water on site.

“Because of the proximity of the housing we don’t have any room to wiggle at all, it either has to be perfect or somebody’s going to smell something or see something,” Cue said. “We have to be better.”

Regarding environmental concerns, DHEC officials explained that 32 groundwater monitoring wells form a ring around the landfill and are sampled twice a year.

Officials said concerning levels of arsenic were found during a their most recent sample in October 2022. They said one well contained 33 times the maximum contaminant level of arsenic.

“330 is what they found? And it was that far over 10? And what have you done about it?” Luanne Langmo, a concerned resident, said.

State health officials said they are assessing and monitoring the issue. They assured the community that groundwater moves much slower than surface water, and that the water is flowing away from the nearby housing- not toward it.

“It took a while for this site to get to that point-, excessive rainfall, the litter, the cover. So, to correct that, It is going to take a little bit of time,” DHEC Assistant Bureau Chief Juli Blalock said.

Officials committed to follow up with additional ground water information.

They said Tuesday’s meeting was just the start of the conversation they want to have with the community, and that it will lead to more information.