A delay in the plan to remove coal tar dumped decades ago in the Congaree River could push the project’s start back another four months.
SCANA has pledged to spend about $18.5 million to remove about 40,000 tons of black tar discharges from a power plant that closed six decades ago.
Also being dredged from that section is purported munitions dumped in the river in the waning days of the Civil War.
The company’s original proposal for the removal involved building a cofferdam that would block up to one-third of the width of the river just south of the Gervais Street bridge.
After consulting with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “it became apparent that the proposed approach we originally submitted had some inherent risks that outweighed the potential benefits of the original approach,” SCANA spokesman Eric Boomhower said.
The one risk he cited was the impact on the opposite shoreline, which likely would have faced more powerful and higher water flow under a plan that would have dammed off almost one-third of the river.
The revised plans should be submitted in three or four months. Details of the plans won’t be available until then, Boomhower said.
The original plan indicated the work could take three years. Planned development of a waterfront park and the extension of the Three Rivers Greenway in the area between Gervais and Blossom streets is on hold until the coal tar removal work is completed. That would be summer of 2018, at the earliest.