Neighbors push for York Co. to do more about New Indy as EPA, DHEC idle with new penalties

It is a story we have been following for more than a year and the issue at the heart of it still remains unresolved: the rotten egg smell coming from New Indy Containerboard.
Those living near the New Indy Container board facility in South Carolina are taking their complains to the county.
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 7:37 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - It is a story we have been following for more than a year and the issue at the heart of it still remains unresolved: the rotten egg smell coming from New Indy Containerboard.

Thousands of neighbors living nearby have lodged formal complaints and in December the EPA proposed a 1.1 million dollar fine if the paper mill did not comply with Clean Air Act standards.

DHEC just recently urged the EPA to take its final actions but still - nothing has been issued. Now some living within the bubble of the smell are demanding county leaders to do more as they await decisions from the state and national agencies.

Related: S.C. health leaders urge EPA to quickly take action against New Indy over odor issues

While York County Council members are aware of the issue, they have looked to the discretion of DHEC and the EPA to navigate the problem. However, people living nearby say enough is enough.

Kerri Bishop stood in front of the York County Council Monday night hoping they would hear her out about New Indy Containerboard. Just hours later, she says the familiar foul smell from the paper mill drifted into her home and left her feeling like a prisoner.

“I mean I couldn’t even go to my PT appointment today because the smell was here last night so I ended up calling them and telling them I just felt horrible,” she says.

Bishop says it is time for the county to step up.

”At this point, I think we need to shut them down,” she says. “We’re going on a year and a half almost”.

She feels the county’s ordinances back it up.

Code 52.39 says the county council requires municipal wastewater treatment providers to quote “prevent the introduction of pollutants into the wastewater systems of the county and any municipal wastewater treatment provider which....will pass into receiving waters or the atmosphere.”

Code 56.64B says the council wants to “…create an environment free from nuisances and unhealthy or devaluating conditions.”

Lastly, Code 52.72A gives York County Water and Sewer Department the ability to suspend wastewater contribution permit “in order to stop an actual or threatened discharge which presents…an imminent or substantial endangerment to the health or welfare of persons.”

”People are suffering. So I don’t understand…it’s just not safe. So I don’t understand why people are allowing it to continue,” she says.

Bishop says she wants to see more done while they wait for the EPA and DHEC to make their moves.

“The EPA process, DHEC process, DOJ process is just taking way too long,” says she says.

WBTV contacted every council member on the York County Council to ask them about these codes and if they could apply these codes to the New Indy situation. The two WBTV heard from pointed me to Councilwoman Christi Cox since New Indy falls in her area. She has not gotten back to WBTV.

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