Carolina Water Service fined almost $80,000 for sewage spill

It is a substantial penalty.

Tubers and kayakers downstream of the Saluda River at the Gervais Street Bridge. (Photos by Terry Ward.)

Carolina Water Service has been fined $78,940 for dumping sewage into the Lower Saluda River.
The amount of the fine was revealed Monday in an agenda for a board meeting of the the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Robert Yanity DHEC Public Information Officer confirmed the fine amount Tuesday. 

The fine will have to be approved by a DHEC board.
in June, CWS discharged sewage into the Saluda River at Saluda Shoals near Irmo.

Palmetto Outdoor Center, a recreational tubing business had to close for three days after bacteria levels in the river got too high because of CWS sewage dumps.

Michael Mayo, owner of Palmetto Outdoor Center, said at the time his business lost as many as 200 river-tubing customers on a Saturday because of the CWS sewage spill.

Bill Spangler, head of the Congaree Riverkeeper, said he feels DHEC is taking the sewage spill seriously based on the amount of the fine. “It is a significant civil penalty,” he said.

Spangler measured bacteria levels in the river in June near Saluda Shoals. When he found high levels he alerted DHEC to the danger. Warning signs were then put up, to alert swimmers of the danger in the water.

“I think DHEC has responded appropriately,” Spangler said of the fine and actions against CWS.

He said in addition to the fine, DHEC is requiring CWS to take corrective action and monitor its discharge plant. CWS must also review its procedures in calculating bacteria levels. The company is required to submit an updated operations maintenance manual, too.

Spangler said the ultimate goal is to have sewage discharge stations removed from the river.  The CWS discharge stations at Saluda Shaols and at I-20 are problem areas. The company has three stations on the river.

Categories: Cayce, Chapin, Columbia, Irmo, Lexington, Lexington County, Richland County, West Columbia