Pee Dee company fined for "unpermitted landfill" - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Pee Dee company fined for "unpermitted landfill"

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) A major job supplier in the Pee Dee is being forced to clean up after the state stepped in and fined it for illegal dumping.

The company at the center of this move is Sonoco, a packaging producer headquartered in Hartsville.

The state said the Sonoco plant has been illegally dumping coal ash, which is a byproduct of production at the facility.

“It is very, very dangerous,” Loretta Jordan, who lives near the plant said. “It did surprise me to hear that they were charged that much.”

She’s lived in the area for 27 years and said the recent $230,000 fine slapped on the facility should have been something people living in this area knew about.

“They need to know a lot more than what I was just told, because this is the first I have heard of this kind of thing from Sonoco,” Jordan said.

This story starts back in 2010. That’s when DHEC checked in on the company and determined that it was no longer recycling ash, something it was supposed to be doing.

In that same year, DHEC said it determined that the coal ash being stored on the company’s property was an unpermitted landfill.

Three years later, as part of a consent agreement with DHEC, the company started checking ground water to make sure it had not been contaminated. Studies found there was no threat to the public.

“I don’t think they should dump it, that’s my opinion,” Deborah Smith, who lives near the plant said.

A Sonoco spokesman said that the ash site is dry and stable and it’s not the same as ash product produced by electric companies.

The company is working to correct the problem. WMBF News has reported on the company’s efforts to move away from using coal.

Last year, the company added a state-of-the-art biomass boiler, which it said cleaner for the environment.

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