CeramTec Plant Site is facing cleanup order

Plants 1 & 2, owned by ACI Industries and CeramTec Industries, are near Laurens; 3M and GE likely will be ordered to spend millions of dollars ridding site of contamination
The Department will select the final cleanup remedy after reviewing and considering comments submitted during the 30-day public comment period. The Department may modify the preferred alternative or select another response action presented in this proposed plan based on new information, or public comments. Therefore, the public is encouraged to review and comment on all the alternatives presented in this proposed plan." - DHEC document, "Proposed Plan for the Site Remediation Laurens CeramTec Site"

The CeramTec plant site in Laurens has 13 chemicals of concern to SC DHEC, and companies might be ordered to spend $2.4 million to get rid of the contamination.

Officials said 3M and GE will be responsible for cleanup costs -- the ceramics industry came to Laurens in 1960 as a 3M subsidiary. A CeramTec North America official said the company has no responsibility for the cleanup costs.

A group of about 30 concerned residents met with state officials Tuesday night at Laurens Elementary School. Some in the audience have land that borders the Plant 1 and Plant 2 site, 1 and 2 Technology Place, Laurens, on Hwy 14. Groundwater and creeks are being closely monitored, and officials said there is no evidence that hazardous chemicals are leaving the site.

"My kids play in that creek," one resident said. "They shut down our wells and said we would get monthly reports - we never got them," another said. A court reporter recorded all comments at the public hearing, and anyone interested in the environmental issue has until March 9 to submit written comments. Addie Walker (803-898-0722, Columbia office) is the project manager.

DHEC officials said they could not tell people at the meeting if the chemicals cause cancer.

One chemical of concern is allowed by federal law at 5 ug/L. At the CeramTec site, the highest on-site concentration of this chemical is 9,000 ug/L. Officials were confident that with the right treatment, the chemicals could be brought into compliance with federal law.

The alternative "most feasible" cleanup for Plant 1 (ACI Industries) costs $800,000.

The alternative "most feasible" cleanup for Plant 2 (CeramTec Industries) costs $1.6 million.

That combined $2.4M pricetage is much less than the highest priced alternatives. totalling an estimated $5.5M.

Cost and Public Input are 2 of the 8 criteria DHEC uses to decide on which cleanup alternatives to order. More technical information is in The Administrative Record available for public inspection at the Laurens County Public Library, 1017 W. Main St., Laurens, or at DHEC's website: www.scdhec.gov/publicnotices

The public comment time is Feb. 6 - March 9, 2018. DHEC officials offered to talk one-on-one with people whose property borders the plant site. 

DHEC likely will recommend for Plant 1, an Alternative 3 cleanup: Enhanced Reductive Dechlorination for the Source Area Groundwater and Monitored Natural Attenuation.

DHEC likely will recommend for Plant 2, an Alternative 4 cleanup: Source Area Soil Vapor Extraction, Enhanced Reductive Dechlorination in the Entire Plume and a Biosparge.

Residents were concerned that once chemicals are in the water table, contamination can be widespread, that creeks already are contaminated, that people who drink or have drunk from wells in the area already have contamination in their bodies, and that monitoring wells are not being checked often enough. DHEC officials took note of all the concerns, and said they expect to hear more comments and concerns before the March 9 written comments deadline. They volunteered to meet one-on-one to hear and address concerns.

One offical said, in the area of environmental cleanup, "We've had a lot of living room meetings."



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