On November 2, 2014, fire fighters from Chester County and DHEC emergency personnel responded to a fire at the landfill. On November 3, 2014, staff from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived at the landfill following a request for assistance from DHEC. After a week of fire-fighting efforts by Chester County, Union County, and the SC Forestry Commission, the fire was thought to be extinguished. However, heat from within the landfill re-kindled the fire later in December. Smoke from the fire has been impacting nearby communities, including Lockhart, SC, since that time.
In December 2014, DHEC began to work with local, state, and federal officials to address the fire. During this time, DHEC and the EPA continued to further assess landfill conditions and monitor air quality in the area for elevated levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). DHEC has routinely met with local residents and business owners to share information and provide updates.
On April 30, 2015, the EPA signed an Action Memorandum authorizing funds for a time-critical removal action at Bennett's Landfill. On May 26, 2015, crews arrived on site to begin addressing the fire. Cleanup activities include:
Cleanup at the landfill is being funded by the EPA and coordinated with DHEC, Union and Chester counties, and the Town of Lockhart to ensure that activities are conducted in a safe and effective manner. The work is not expected to adversely affect nearby communities or businesses.