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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2016

DHEC Denies CWS I-20 Plant Permit and Orders Town of Lexington and CWS to Eliminate Discharge into Saluda River

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today denied renewal of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the Carolina Water Service (CWS), Inc., I-20 Wastewater Treatment Plant in Lexington County. To protect public health and ensure uninterrupted service for the plant's 2,000 customers, DHEC also issued administrative orders directing the Town of Lexington and CWS to develop a coordinated transition plan to safely shut down the facility and eliminate wastewater discharge into the Saluda River.

"After several months of trying to get both parties to reach a solution, we have been left with no other option but to move forward with these orders," said DHEC Director Catherine Heigel. "In the interest of public health, we continue to urge both the Town of Lexington and CWS to work together quickly to complete the transfer of the I-20 plant to the Town in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act."

The orders give the Town of Lexington and CWS 60 days to submit a coordinated plan to DHEC detailing how CWS will interconnect the wastewater discharge from the I-20 plant to Lexington's sewer system. Within 12 months, CWS must complete the tie into the Lexington sewer system, shut down the I-20 facility and eliminate discharge into the Saluda River.

"We remain committed to protecting the health of the public and the environment and will monitor the transition process to ensure that affected customers have uninterrupted wastewater treatment service," said Heigel.

Failure by the Town of Lexington or CWS to comply with any provisions of the orders will be grounds for further enforcement action and could result in civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day.

For a copy of the permit denial, click here.

For a copy of the administrative order to the Town of Lexington, click here.

For a copy of the administrative order to CWS, click here.

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Jennifer Read 
Chief Communications Officer 
(803) 898-1259
readjh@dhec.sc.gov