Lowcountry firefighters called to extinguish hot spots at massive trash heap

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RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) – A giant trash pile has been causing an awful smell in one Jasper County community. Now, people who live and work near the 60-foot heap have new concerns.

Jasper County Fire was called to the scene of the supposed recyclable construction debris around 9 a.m. Wednesday. Crews spent over an hour spraying water on smoking parts of the giant heap of debris.

Just hours before, business owners took videos of the heavy smoke in the area. They said the smell was unbearable — worse than it had been in months.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says their air quality meter on site is not above the allowable health-based standards.

DHEC tells News 3 it did issue Able Contracting, who owns the site, a violation in October 2018 for not recycling at least 75 percent of their material.

The company was told it had to get a construction and demolition permit by May of 2020. Able Contracting has applied for that permit.

Teresa Forrest, who owns Forrest Concrete across the street from the pile, says the property owner’s negligence may have caused those hot spots.

“The debris on the bottom of the pile has never been moved since day one and I never see trucks taking anything out, only going in,” explains Forrest. “It smells worse in the winter, but in the summer we all have the fear that it’s going to catch fire again, and of course, we can’t breathe anyway, but it is going to be worse if we can’t get to our businesses if need be.”

Forrest believes just issuing Able Contracting’s owner Chandler Lloyd a new permit is not enough for her and other neighbors.

“I would like to see them halt any more material coming in for supposed separation. and make him take those piles down to a manageable level,” said Forrest. “He needs to be educated properly once its where it needs to be on how to manage it correctly. Because he’s been amuck, he’s been doing whatever he wants. We are all about coexisting but Mr. Lloyd has done nothing to protect us.”

A DHEC stormwater management professional came to the site Tuesday to look into problems with runoff into a local pond from this trash heap.

The businesses are looking into whatever legal action they can but they are counting on the State to step up, to take care of the smell, the possibility of fire which is affecting their business and land values.

Chandler Lloyd and Able Contracting has declined to comment to News 3.

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