RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) – Officials say a highly poisonous gas has been detected at the site of a giant, smoking trash pile in Jasper County.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a low-level exceedance of hydrogen cyanide was found at the site Thursday, originating from within the pile.
But officials say the toxic levels have not traveled far from the site on Schinger Avenue. For example, Okatie Elementary School, located about a mile away, is not impacted at this time.
For much of the day Thursday, crews were applying water to the pile, owned by Able Contracting. They stopped operations in the afternoon in an effort to let the smoke subside.
Several area businesses told News 3 they were alerted of the latest development and have chosen to close for the day.
A spokesperson for the EPA said on a scale of one to five — with five being the action level of evacuation — the site was at a level three and declining.
At this time, the EPA believes conditions will be deemed safe for businesses to return on Friday.
Nearly two weeks ago, a voluntary evacuation was ordered for residents in the area. News 3 is told the county is paying for some neighbors to stay in hotel rooms.