DHEC Denies CWS I-20 Permit

Today (8/1/16) the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control (DHEC) officially denied renewal of the NPDES permit for Carolina Water Service’s I-20 wastewater treatment plant. In addition to the permit denial DHEC also issued administrative orders to CWS and the Town of Lexington requiring them to submit a coordinated plan to eliminate the CWS I-20 discharge and shut down the facility.

Today DHEC made not only the right decision to protect the Saluda River and the people that use it, but the only decision they could make under the law. We thank them for their careful consideration of this issue and their action.

Unfortunately, this issue, which has gone on for nearly two decades, is not over yet. CWS may appeal the permit denial and administrative orders, and both parties must still agree to a plan. Congaree Riverkeeper will monitor these developments and continue to work to end Carolina Water Service’s illegal sewer discharge and protect the Saluda River. Additionally, we will continue our citizen enforcement lawsuit in federal court until this issue is resolved once and for all.

Finally, thank you to everyone who spoke out on this issue. Thank you to the hundreds of people who attended public hearings and submitted comments demanding the permit be denied and CWS end their discharge. You stood with us to oppose pollution and together our voices were loud and clear: THESE ARE OUR RIVERS AND WE WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT THEM.

You can view the press release, permit denial and administrative orders on DHEC’s website here: http://www.scdhec.gov/Agen…/NewsReleases/2016/nr20160801-01/

You can view some of the press coverage of this issue here:
The State Newspaper - http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article93167952.html WIS TV - http://www.wistv.com/story/32592815/dhec-denies-permit-for-carolina-wate... WACH FOX - http://wach.com/news/local/dhec-denies-i-20-plant-permit-for-carolina-water-service-in-lexington-co" target="_blank">http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article93167952.html
WIS TV - http://www.wistv.com/story/32592815/dhec-denies-permit-for-carolina-water-service
WACH FOX - http://wach.com/news/local/dhec-denies-i-20-plant-permit-for-carolina-water-service-in-lexington-co

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Update 8/2/16

Here are a few updates on yesterday's Carolina Water Service I-20 permit denial...

As expected, CWS stated yesterday that they plan to appeal the permit denial and administrative orders. The appeals process would first go the the DHEC Board, then the Administrative Law Court and possibly further from there, and could take several months or longer.

The timelines in the administrative orders will not start until all appeals have been resolved. CWS will continue to discharge into the Saluda River until all appeals have been resolved, and even after that they will still have a year to eliminate the discharge.

The Town of Lexington has stated that it "intends to fully comply with its obligations as a designated management agency in the Section 208 Wastewater Management Plan either by purchase, condemnation, or other connection to eliminate this discharge.”

This permit denial and administrative order are for the CWS I-20 facility only. The facility that caused the recent swimming advisory on the Saluda River was a separate wastewater treatment plant, the CWS Friarsgate facility.

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Update 8/18/16

On August 16th CWS appealed both the permit denial and the administrative order.  The Town of Lexington also appealed their administrative order.  Congaree Riverkeeper has filed a motion to intervene in the appeals process.

Read more in this article from The State Newspaper: http://www.thestate.com/latest-news/article96617667.html