Two residents have filed lawsuits against Williamsburg County in regards to the Salters landfill. The lawsuits filed in the Court of Common Pleas for the Third Judicial Circuit allege Williamsburg County continues to operate a solid waste landfill despite its failure to meet federal human safety and environmental standards. The two separate lawsuits were filed on behalf of Plaintiffs Adam Johnson and Michael Chandler.
The lawsuits allege, in part, the defendants health and property values have been impacted by allowing toxic fumes, gases and dust, often nauseating, stifling and unbearable, to emanate from the landfill. The lawsuits also allege toxic waste in the landfill poses a threat of groundwater and drinking water contamination. “This is the last unlined landfill in the State of South Carolina," said Beasley Allen lawyer William E. Hopkins, Jr., in a press release. "Despite years of protests and complaints from local residents and neighbors, as well as DHEC, the County was able to keep this deficient landfill open through political wrangling. While the County claims to have “closed” the landfill in March of 2011 for failing to meet State standards, all the County really did was change the landfill designation from a Class III landfill to a Class II landfill and it continues to accept waste today. Despite the fact DHEC and the County learned last year that groundwater on private property adjacent to the landfill is contaminated by very dangerous chemicals, the landfill continues to accept some of the most toxic waste, including tires. Amazingly, the County even advertises on its website that it will accept used, rotting tires at its landfill. Our clients finally realized that, unfortunately, the only way to get the County’s attention and get some meaningful change is through litigation.” The Plaintiffs are represented by Beasley Allen lawyers William E. Hopkins, Jr. and Andrew E. Brashier; along with Walton J. McLeod of the Mike Kelley Law Group, L.L.C., in Columbia, South Carolina; and Yancey A. McLeod, attorney at law in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Salters landfill is the last remaining unlined landfill in the state. In 1998, the landfill was scheduled for closure, however, under special conditions granted by DHEC, the site remained open until its final closure in September 2011. DHEC regulations mandate groundwater monitoring throughout the active life and post-closure care period of the landfill.
According to the lawsuit, the landfill does not meet Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D requirements; however, the County continues to operate the landfill and accept on a daily basis noxious and toxic waste, including tires. RCRA Subtitle D regulations established the “bare minimum criteria for all municipal solid waste landfills to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.”
Williamsburg County attorney Billy Jenkinson said the document is under review. "Its way to early," said Jenkinson, adding. "We've had experts running that landfill - designing it, running it, and closing it since day one."