Congaree Riverkeeper to sue SCE&G over company's plans to cover coal tar

Congaree Riverkeeper to sue SCE&G over company's plans to cover coal tar
Updated: Nov. 14, 2017 at 10:45 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Congaree Riverkeeper plans to sue South Carolina Electric and Gas to halt the company's plans to cover up coal tar found in the Congaree River several years ago instead of working to remove it.

Bill Stangler filed a notice of intent to sue on Tuesday with his attorneys from the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The coal tar in question was found in 2010 after DHEC found the tar on the riverbed at about waist height after hearing complaints from swimmers.

Officials say the coal tar is a by-product in the operation of coal gasification plants that SCE&G owned and operated over 100 years ago.

As soon as the coal tar was located, SCE&G and former President Kevin Marsh pledged to remove it.

"It's simply the right thing to do," Marsh said in 2010. "If it's determined later that other companies have some responsibility in this matter, we'll address that then. What's important now is to focus our efforts on a remedy for the situation at hand."

Instead, seven years later, SCE&G has opted to cover the tar with a shroud and stones or other material to hold it in place.

The company backed away from a plan to dig up the coal tar and haul it away because of expense.

"SCE&G promised a cleanup, but what they are now offering is a cover-up," Stangler said via a statement.

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