Lexington County, SC (WLTX) - Carolina Water Service could be looking at thousands of dollars in new fines.
DHEC listed multiple violations against the company's Friarsgate Wastewater Treatment Facility after a sewer system overflow sent untreated wastewater into nearby water systems last week.
"They're putting at-risk the health of our rivers and the health of the public," said Bill Stangler, the Congaree Riverkeeper. "Raw sewage was just running off of their wastewater plant site into a creek!"
Stangler says raw sewage is exactly what it sounds like.
"Yea, the stuff that you flush down the toilet," Stangler said.
Other violations include failing to properly operate and maintain the wastewater facility and failing to report the overflows to DHEC.
In the April 6th report, DHEC cited Carolina Water Service for several previous sewer system overflows. Strangler says the issues don't stop there.
"Last summer they were releasing under treated sewage into the Saluda River, there was a no-swim advisory for two weeks," Stangler said.
The company was also recently fined $1.5 million dollars by a federal judge in a lawsuit brought on by the Congaree Riverkeeper for illegal discharges at their I-20 facility, also on the Saluda River.
"They either are not capable of complying with the law or they're not willing to do it, and that's a really serious problem," Stangler said.
The most recent overflow came after a heavy rain, but Stangler says, they should be able to handle it.
"Rain in South Carolina in the spring time is not an extraordinary event," Stangler said, "there's still no excuse to be releasing raw sewage into our waterways."
We reached out to Carolina Water Services who say they will talk about this with DHEC at their enforcement conference on April 24th. The fines could be up to a $10,000 per day per violation.