RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) – Almost 90 feet of debris has been removed from a once massive, smoking trash pile in Jasper County. It’s the end of weeks of work by local, state and federal authorities.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) finished pulling more than 115,000 pounds of the debris this week.
Included in the removal were tanks that once held propane or fire extinguishing chemicals — though officials say those items were not considered to be a contributing factor in the fire.
“A pile like this generates a lot of heat and when you have a pile like this that heat is not able to escape — that heat can build up,” said Henry Porter, DHEC’s Chief of the Bureau of Land and Waste Management.
“It’s likely this fire was caused by heat generated from decomposition and the size of the pile and the weight of the pile bearing down on the material,” he added.
Officials say the danger of the smoldering pile, which caused particulate and chemical levels exceeding health standards, is no longer an issue for residents in the area.
Meanwhile, tests will continue on the watershed impacted by runoff from firefighting efforts.
DHEC is now turning to its next step: exploring legal options to try and get back $4.5 million it took to do the work Chandler Lloyd, owner of Able Construction, who created the pile.
Lloyd told News 3 he spent about $345,000 of his own money before DHEC stepped in to help.
He said he hasn’t been able to get a job and would have hoped DHEC and the Environmental Protection Agency would have worked with him before shutting him down.
Lloyd’s next step is unknown, but he says he’s also looking into legal action.