Odorous paper mill in York County fined, ordered to clean up its act

South Carolina DHEC is requiring New Indy Containerboard to clean up two parts of its mill.
South Carolina DHEC is requiring New Indy Containerboard to clean up two parts of its mill.
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - New Indy Containerboard, the stinking paper mill many of you have now come to live with, has now gotten hit with more requirements to clean up its act.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is requiring the company to clean up two parts of the mill contributing to the odor and symptom-causing fumes DHEC says is seeping from the mill.

It’s required to clean those by years 2023 and 2026.

The mill in York County also recently got slapped with a $120,000 fine.

WBTV has been following this case from the very beginning.

”I’m coughing, I’m starting to get raspy again, my eyes are starting to get swollen again. I’m tired,” Kerri Bishop said.

Bishop said she knows the scent and symptoms of New Indy Containerboard all too well.

But after a week away, she’s starting to feel something else.

“I’m starting to get depressed because I know what it’s like being away for a full week in fresh air and it’s just…it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

When she heard about the South Carolina DHEC hitting New Indy, it was a boost of hope. But after seeing it, she quickly deflated.

DHEC says New Indy needs an upheaval of its pollution prevention equipment.

That includes a new stripper that’s supposed to remove the foul smell before it gets into the air and monitoring systems to test pollution.

The environmental agency called this significant action against New Indy.

”The letter is what has the steam stripper, the consent order does not,” Bishop said.

A steam stripper would significantly reduce the odorous toxins going into the air, but the letter from DHEC is only a request.

Another group WBTV talked to says it is a serious one.

“There is no negotiation with DHEC regarding the addition of a new stripper,” said Jean Fritchley, who is a part of the group.

Fritchley, Jennifer Sabatino and Courtney Beltz said after reading the letter and talks with the environmental agency, they are pleased with how things are moving along. The three women are a part of the New Indy’s Engagement Board as well.

”We feel this is the right step to be taken to ensure odor and H2S levels remain low to ensure a safer and more enjoyable lifestyle within the community,” the group said.

WBTV reached out to New Indy to find out the company’s reaction to this newly slapped letter and order.

The company couldn’t do an interview, but did provide the following statement:

“New-Indy Catawba personnel have worked diligently with state regulators over the past year to develop a plan that will both benefit and protect the community surrounding the facility. This agreement will help ensure that future emissions continue to follow this trend.”

This first order is one of four regulatory actions against New Indy.

Two more EPA documents and one more DHEC document are coming soon.

Related: A look inside: New Indy Containerboard works to honor EPA order, address S.C. odor dilemma

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