Some neighbors oppose Fairfield Co. proposal for new wastewater treatment plant on Syrup Mill Road

Updated: Jan. 11, 2020 at 2:43 PM EST
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FAIRFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) -Some people who live along Syrup Mill Road in Fairfield County aren’t happy about a proposal to build a wastewater treatment plan in their community.

According to a county proposal, the plant would be constructed on a piece of property near a creek not far from the Syrup Mill Road/Broome Mill Road split. Fairfleld County council is set to take up the issue Jan 13.

County Councilman Douglas Pauley, who represents the area, gave some information about the project and what will be discussed Monday evening.

In an e-mail response, Pauley stated:

“On the agenda the only action item listed in reference to the property on Syrup Mill Road is ‘the purchase of the 50 or more acres on Syrup Mill Road for not more than $300,000 to be used as a suitable location for a wastewater treatment facility or other use as deemed appropriate.' We will also be giving a full presentation on the need for a wastewater treatment facility, along with a detailed explanation of the engineering, permitting, legal, and financing required to construct the facility. During the presentation, as part of the engineering and permitting, we will also give the reason why the plant cannot be located just anywhere in the county, but must be located on a stream that SCDHEC has determined can accept the treated wastewater that will be discharged from the facility. While the presentation is not a public hearing, we hope to address citizen’s concerns.”

Ruchelle Gee, who lives nearby, has been working to increase awareness of the proposal in her community. She says the plant would treat water from several miles away at an industrial park.

Fairfield County Economic Development Director, Ty Davenport, says the county is hoping to lure an automobile manufacturer or aerospace company to the area bringing with it around 1,500 jobs. He he says the new plant will not only allow for industrial development but residential and commercial development as well.

However, Gee says the construction of a wastewater treatment plant would disrupt the community and negatively impact the quality of life she and her neighbors enjoy.

“There’s a place for industry, it is needed, but it’s not in a residential area,” Gee said.

Not only would the plant be near her home but it would be built near a creek that runs behind her property. She, along with neighbors, are concerned about odors, noise, property values, creek flooding getting worse and industrial traffic.

“They’re going to eat that road up and I have no confidence it will be repaired,” Gee said.

SC Department of Health and Environmental Control was contacted to learn if anyone had reached out to them about the proposal on Syrup Mill Road and if there were any other sites in the county they were looking into as it relates to a potential newly constructed wastewater treatment plant.

In a statement, media relations representative Lauren Renwick said:

“The Department has responded to a request to evaluate the feasibility of a proposed wastewater treatment plant on Syrup Mill Road in Fairfield County, and we’ve provided the requester with the discharge limits we’ve determined or that site. The Department reviews the specific discharge point site for a proposed wastewater treatment plant’s location, but we don’t evaluate all of the water bodies in a county for ideal locations for a wastewater treatment plant. Typically, an entity will hire a private engineering firm to evaluate an area to determine the location that best fits the customer’s needs. After a potential location is selected, the entity will contact DHEC to request an evaluation of the receiving water body (river, stream, lake, etc.).”

After reviewing other sites Davenport say the Syrup Mill Road location is the best available option for the project. Initially the plant would treat 1 million gallons of water eventually expanding to 4 million gallons.

Davenport reiterated residents concerns and questions will be addressed by engineers and county leaders at Monday night’s county council meeting at 6 p.m. at the Fairfield County Government Complex.

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