Fire Extinguished and Cleanup Completed at Former Able Contracting Site in Jasper County
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jan. 7, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental oversaw the final truckload of debris hauled away from the former Able Contracting, Inc., location in Jasper County, concluding a six-month cleanup project to remove more than a hundred thousand tons of material from the debris recycling facility.
DHEC responded to reports of smoke at the facility in June 2019. The department coordinated with local emergency responders and eventually requested U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistance for air monitoring.
“DHEC’s top priority has been protecting public health and the environment while coordinating federal, state and local response efforts to extinguish the fire and remove debris,” said Myra Reece, DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Director.
Approximately 115,136 tons of debris have been removed from the site and relocated for proper disposal at nearby landfills. On average, approximately 100 truckloads and 1,000 tons of material were removed from the site each day of cleanup operations.
In June 2019, DHEC was notified of and began investigating a fire in the construction and demolition debris pile at the Able facility. Debris fires of this type are known to be complex and burn deep within the core of the pile. The department installed multiple air sensors at nearby locations, including residences, businesses and schools, to monitor air quality, and officials used this data and smoke forecasting to advise the local community of health precautions. With the support of the EPA, additional air and water testing was conducted. The department created a publicly accessible website about the site to provide sampling results, real-time air sensor data and daily progress updates.
The total estimated cost for the emergency cleanup project is approximately $4.5 million, and the department will pursue cost recovery.
Note to editors: DHEC will offer an environmental expert for interviews to discuss the site’s cleanup from 11:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to take part in the interview.