Public hearing held for ash pond closure plan

The Department of Health and Environmental Control held a public hearing on the proposed ash pond closure plan in Conway Tuesday night.

An environmental group claims toxic waste on the site of the Grainger Power Plant is seeping into the river, wetlands, and ground water, surrounding the plant.

"Leaving the coal ash in place is a long term issue for our community," said Waccamaw Riverkeeper, Christine Ellis.

A month ago DHEC received a closure plan for the coal ash ponds at the Santee Cooper Grainger plant. The power plant closed December 31.

The plan for the ponds includes consolidating 80 acres of coal ash into 40, then placing it in a vault and capping it with concrete.

Ellis doesn't believe this is a good solution.

"Well the plan is not protective of the river or community. It doesn't protect the beneficial benefits of the river," said Ellis.

The plan is not violating any DHEC laws, according to their engineers. There is no minimum amount of space required between toxic waste like coal ash and water. The engineers just simply make a judgement call.

There is another option, Santee Cooper could haul the ash out of the Conway ponds and place it in a new landfill in Cross, SC. Santee Cooper says that option is too expensive.

"When you look at the benefits and sustainability, it does require a lot of trucks on the road through Conway. It is considerably more expensive," said Mollie Gore with Santee Cooper.

Oral comments were recorded. DHEC asks that written comments be forwarded by May 9 to 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC.

Concerened citizens are asked to submit written comments by May 9th. You can email Randy Thompson at or by mailing them to DHEC Bureau of Water at 2600 Bull Street. Columbia, SC 29201.