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Community Involvement

DHEC encourages citizens to be involved in environmental issues affecting their communities. This can be done by reviewing information, asking questions, offering comments and attending meetings.

Community Meetings

October 2012 - DHEC and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a Public Availability Session from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at the Mary Black Hospital Conference Center (Medical Office Building III, Lower Level) in Spartanburg. The primary purpose of the availability session was to share results of the Spartanburg Water Initiative that began in February 2012.

At this availability session, DHEC and EPA staff were available to answer questions and address concerns about the following:

  • Results of the study of sediment and water along the Pacolet River and Kelsey Creek, also known as the Spartanburg Water Initiative;
  • Local drinking water quality;
  • Public health; and
  • Status of groundwater remediation efforts at the former Hoechst Celanese plant.

November 2011 - DHEC held a follow-up community meeting on Monday, November 28, 2011, at the Mary Black Hospital Conference Center in Spartanburg.  At this meeting, DHEC staff:

Gave a presentation on the findings from an aquatic study of the Pacolet River;

Gave a second presentation on sample results from additional private well sampling in the Cannons Campground Community and plans to conduct a study of sediment and water along the Pacolet River and Kelsey Creek; and

Discussed health effects and gave an update on the cancer assessment.

DHEC staff heard concerns and answered questions following each presentation. Additional resources discussed at the meeting included fact sheets on 1,4 Dioxane and Chloroform by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

August 2011 - A community meeting was held on Thursday, August 4, 2011, at the Mary Black Hospital Conference Center in Spartanburg for DHEC staff to discuss groundwater contamination and on-going cleanup activities at the former Hoechst Celanese site. At this meeting, DHEC staff:

Gave a brief overview of the past and present cleanup activities at the site; and Heard concerns and answered questions about health and environmental issues in the Cannons Campground Community.

The meeting included a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. DHEC staff also provided a fact sheet about the former site.

Cancer Assessment

In 2011, residents expressed, concerns regarding the number of cancer cases and deaths in the Cannons Campground Community and the proximity of the groundwater contamination plume coming from the former Hoechst Celanese site. In response to these concerns, DHEC conducted a cancer assessment for ZIP code 29307. Cancer incidence data (new cases) and cancer mortality (deaths due to cancer) were examined for the most recent 5-year period of available data (2003 – 2007), and then for all available data years from the South Carolina Central Cancer Registry (1996 – 2007) to identify any unusual patterns of cancer occurrence and deaths.

The results of this analysis have shown that no excess was found in either cancer mortality or incidence in any specific cancer types (including rare cancers) over and above the number of cases expected to occur by chance alone. The findings of this analysis are provided in the DHEC Cancer Composite Report for Cannon Campgrounds and Zip Code 29307 (Spartanburg County, SC). A summary of the findings from the analysis is also available.

DHEC requested a review of its cancer assessment by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ATSDR concurred with DHEC's findings in a letter dated October 21, 2011.

Aquatic Study

In July 2011 an assessment of the Pacolet River was conducted by staff of DHEC's Aquatic Biology Section to determine the condition of aquatic life in the section of the river adjacent to the former Hoechst Celanese site. This assessment is detailed in the report An Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Bioassessment of the Pacolet River between Lake Blalock and Interstate I-85 (Spartanburg County, SC). The results of the assessment suggest that there are currently no overt acute toxic effects on the aquatic macroinvertebrate community in the Pacolet River from activities at the site. Macroinvertebrate are organisms that maintain the health of the water ecosystem by eating bacteria and dead, decaying plants and animals. Recommendations for additional research are included in the report to further determine if aquatic life in the river near the site has been harmed.