The City of Darlington is fining Hartsville Oil Mill $6,000 a month for violations of SC Department of Health and Environmental Control's health laws.
Darlington City Planner Lisa Chalian-Rock said the Oil Mill is releasing about 48 pounds per day of phosphorus. She says in August 2012 they started noticing their wastewater treatment plant was clogging up.
"If there's phosphorus in the system, too much phosphorus above the levels, it will cause algae and other things to grow which could essentially clog up the whole system," Rock said.
Rock said according to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Oil Mill is way over the limit per day of phosphorus that can be released into Darlington's wastewater system. That's why the city has no other choice other than to fine the company.
"DHEC tells us we have to enforce the laws for wastewater systems. And if were to let this go on and not fine them, DHEC could fine us. So, we're doing what we're suppose to be doing in trying to solve this problem. We don't want this to become an even bigger problem and DHEC doesn't either."
Rock added they're spraying algaecide to kill the algae, but that's just a temporary fix.
She said a longterm fix would be for the Oil Mill to truck its waste to the wastewater treatment plant in Florence.
Rock said, "We have been in talks with the Florence system. And the mill and the mill's been in talks with them to get that done. To move the wastewater to the Florence system. Because the City of Florence has a different type of sewage system. It's a extended aeration plant. It can handle the higher levels of phosphorus."
She said the city is hoping to land a grant to extend the sewer lines and that could be another solution to the problem.
"The city of Darlington is applying for an EDA grant to extend the sewer line from the mill to the Bypass down the Food Lion which would connect them to the Florence system, so they can send their wastewater directly. This will involve building some pump stations, and that sort of thing. But it will also increase sewage capacity."
Hartsville Oil Mill has been cooperating with them fully and making every effort to fix the problem, according to Rock.
Our calls to the Hartsville Oil Mill haven't been returned.