EPA takes legal action against New Indy Containerboard over prolonged odor in S.C.

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 11:41 AM EDT
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CATAWBA, S.C. (WBTV) -The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking legal action against New Indy Containerboard.

Environmental Director Myra Reece made the announcement Thursday morning.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says the agency is taking action under the Clean Air Act. It is all because of the odor plaguing four counties in South Carolina.

Reece says the EPA order tells New Indy the company “has to reduce their hydrogen sulfide levels at the fence line of the facility.”

DHEC also says the EPA is releasing its own reports on New Indy “soon.” However, the EPA, according to DHEC, says New Indy is the culprit of the increase of odor and hydrogen sulfide.

On Monday, WBTV interviewed two environmental lawyers about DHEC’s order. They say DHEC has the ability to shut down New Indy now for health and quality of life concerns. In a press conference, WBTV asked if that was going to happen and why they have not done after saying New Indy was the culprit.

We did not get much of an answer, but the environmental director, says DHEC is prepared to issue a cease and desist and further action if New Indy does not meet the dates in the order. A statement sent from the state says: “DHEC will continue to ensure appropriate legal response and enforcement of the Order.”

DHEC is still waiting on a response from New Indy Containerboard about the order.

Myra Reece, the environmental director, says the data, like their own tests, the EPA’s tests among other data like your reports, helped pave the way for an order.

”We really needed all of those information to be able to exercise all of our authority under the Pollution Control Act. That’s really been our approach,” says Reece.

One thing Reece praised is people reporting the 17,000 odor reports that DHEC has gotten thus far. She says the reports everyone have been sending help them put out this order. She also says the report from EPA will be released soon.

Data monitoring could be coming to your neighborhood as well. Reece says they are teaming up with the EPA to get stationary air monitoring systems to track how strong that odor is in your areas.

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