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Environmental Monitoring

Monitoring the water:

DHEC staff collected samples from the public water supply well at the Broad River Mart located immediately adjacent to the landfill. Results from these samples indicated no impacts from the landfill to this source of drinking water.

Ambient surface water quality is monitored through DHEC's Bureau of Water program. Overview information related to the Broad River Basin Watershed can be found on the Broad River Basin Watershed Webpage and more details of this smaller watershed are in the Broad River Watershed Water Quality Assessment.

DHEC and the SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) update the Fish Consumption Advisory for SC water-bodies on an annual basis. Currently there is no advisory listed for the Broad River.

Monitoring the air:

Since January 2015, the EPA and DHEC have continuously sampled the air near the landfill. Air monitoring stations have measured the levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in the air and some basic meteorological data, such as wind speed, wind direction, and temperature. DHEC's monitoring data of the landfill smoke has shown that PM 2.5 concentrations are highest in the early hours of the morning when the wind is blowing from the direction of the fire, and when there is not enough wind to clear out the valley in the Town of Lockhart.

Now that the EPA's evaluation is completed, its monitors have been removed. However, DHEC will continue to operate air monitors near the fire - where higher impacts were recorded - and at other locations that best represent the air quality in Lockhart, until the smoke is eliminated.

Most often there is no visible flame at the landfill; therefore, smoke is the main indication that material is burning. The community will continue to see smoke coming from the landfill until the fire is smothered. When weather conditions are calm, such as overnight, smoke can accumulate in the river valley and in the Town of Lockhart. DHEC provides smoke forecasts to warn the community when the smoke is likely to be trapped close to the surface, or may otherwise impact the town of Lockhart and neighboring communities.

Whether from a campfire, wildfire, or landfill fire, all smoke is made up of very small partially-burned particles and chemicals which form as a result of combustion. Sampling results show that chemicals associated with the landfill smoke become diluted and are much less concentrated before they leave the landfill property. However, DHEC recommends avoiding or minimizing exposure to all smoke when possible.

Increased particulates in the air can be bothersome and may aggravate some pre-existing health conditions. If given a choice of when to walk, jog, or be outside, residents are encouraged to do so during the times that the smoke is not visible at ground level. DHEC recommends that any resident with a personal health concern seek advice from their regular health care provider.