Landfill fire meetings today

LOCKHART — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold two public meetings today concerning the Bennett Landfill Fire and related concerns.

In a statement released this week, the EPA announced that it will hold “availability sessions” today from 9-11 a.m. and then again from 5-7 p.m. at the Family Life Center (Old National Guard Armory), 126 Armory Road, Highway 9, in Lockhart. The announcement states EPA personnel will be joined at the meeting by personnel from the the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). Representatives from each agency will be in attendance to provide information on current site conditions and to address ongoing community concerns.

The release states that the Bennett Landfill Fire Site is located at 4399 Pinckney Road, Chester, and is approximately 16 acres in size. The site was permitted as a Class II landfill for construction debris and was also approved to receive certain types of asbestos wastes. The landfill was issued a cease and desist order in 2014 based on improper management of asbestos wastes, repeated failures to regularly cover disposed waste and other maintenance and management issues.

Fire broke out at the site in early November, blanketing the surrounding area, especially the Town of Lockhart here in Union County, with smoke. The fire was originally fought by Chester County Emergency Management but the EPA took over the effort in late May with officials expecting the process to be completed sometime in August.

Lockhart Mayor Ailene Ashe encouraged residents of the Town of Lockhart and surrounding areas to attend today’s meetings and ask their question and voice their concerns.

“Please come and voice your concerns, this is your opportunity,” Ashe said Wednesday morning. “This is our opportunity to voice our concerns to representatives of EPA, DHEC and the ATSDR about the fire and the impact it has had on our community and on your health.”

For more information contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Kerisa Coleman (404) 562-8831 or (877) 718-3752 or by email to [email protected], or EPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator Matthew Huyser (404) 562-8713 or by email to [email protected]

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