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South Carolina textile dyeing plant added to EPA Superfund priority list

031822 Galey and Lord aerial.jpg
Aerial photo shows the former Galey and Lord textile plant in Society Hill, S.C., including contaminated storage facilities.

The Environmental Protection Agency says a former textile dyeing plant in Darlington County, South Carolina, is among a dozen hazardous waste sites nationwide that have been added to the Superfund National Priorities List.

The former Galey and Lord plant is on the Great Pee Dee River in Society Hill, about 100 miles southeast of Charlotte. It operated from 1966 to 2016 providing dyeing, finishing and surface treatment of cotton and synthetic fabrics, according to the EPA.

When it was abandoned in 2016, the plant's owners failed to properly close wastewater treatment facilities and basins located adjacent to the Great Pee Dee River, the EPA said.

The EPA says the 235-acre site is contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals that pose significant threats to health and the environment. Contamination also has been found downstream from the plant in wetlands and waters where people fish.

The designation means the site is eligible for a federal cleanup.

See the EPA Region 4 announcement and the final rule in the Federal Register, listing all the sites.

Sites in Georgia and Tennessee also were added to the priority list. And EPA Region 4 officials have proposed adding another site in Mississippi. They are:

  • Westside Lead, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Galey and Lord Plant, Society Hill, South Carolina
  • National Fireworks, Cordova, Tennessee
  • Hercules Inc, Hattiesburg, Mississippi (proposed)

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                  David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.