Elgin chemical company to pay $500,000, clean up toxins

03/26/2013 6:56 PM

03/26/2013 6:57 PM

An Elgin chemical manufacturer will pay a $500,000 pollution fine for a series of alleged environmental violations at its plant and a wastewater treatment facility near Lugoff, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says the company’s 46-year-old operation illegally discharged as many as 10 different chemicals into the Wateree River above permitted federal limits. Among the pollutants of concern are benzene, chlorine, toluene and xylene.

The federal consent decree with Weylchem requires the company to eliminate a discharge to the Wateree River and discontinue trucking waste from the Elgin facility, according to a news release late Tuesday afternoon.

“After years of negotiations, this consent decree is good news for the Lugoff and Elgin communities and the people of South Carolina,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s regional administrator, Gwen Keyes Fleming, said she also was pleased with the agreement with Weylchem.

“This agreement will result in better management practices that will ultimately lead to greater protection of public health and the environment for the citizens of South Carolina.”

An official with Weylchem who could speak publicly about the settlement was not available Tuesday, but a company official said Weylchem’s troubles result from a previous owner of the chemical facility.

The facility has been known through the years as Elgin Fine Chemicals, Clariant LSM America Inc., and Archimica Inc., according to federal prosecutors. Violations cited include for both air and water pollution.

The company will investigate possible soil and groundwater contamination in the Elgin area.

Sammy Fretwell

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