Proposed Incinerator Lights Fire Under Residents Concerned About Air Quality

DHEC is considering approval of an incinerator that would burn clean wood.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Officials with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) got a lot of push back during a public hearing on a permit that would allow an air curtain incinerator to be built near the Crane Creek Neighborhood in Columbia.

"I'm going to fight this along with everyone in here, we just don't need it," says one woman, speaking out against the project.

Dozens living in the that area are concerned about the lasting impact it will have on air quality.
 
"How would you feel if it were your community and you're putting it there?"

The permit for the incinerator comes from Corley Construction. It would be an addition to a recycling facility located on Wessinger road.

Those living near the facility asked DHEC to decline the permit request.
 
"I have breathing issues that I'm dealing with,” says Curtis Ellington. “I have property issues that if he puts an incinerator there it will decrease the value of our property."

Questions arose about the quality of smoke the incinerator would produce and what it could burn. Residents were concerned that hospital and hazardous waste could be used.
 
"We understand that there are special incinerators for human waste, toxic waste, that sort of stuff,” says Robert Yanity, public information officer for DHEC. “This is not one of those. This incinerator is only going to be permitted to burn clean wood."

That means only untreated wood and wood products like tree stumps, limbs and yard waste can be burned.
 
"It won't be able to accept anything like painted wood or anything like that,” says Yanity.

While DHEC representatives explained the permit, residents who are not on board with the project felt as if it was a done deal. DHEC can approve the project if it meets all environmental standards.
  
"Y'all have no choice but to pass it, so why are we here?" asked one man.

Officals say meetings like this one can help them add additional conditions to the permit so that the impact on residents is limited.

DHEC is taking public comment on this permit until June 12th.

All written comments can be submitted to the Bureau of Air Quality office located at 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201.
 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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