SCNow had another editorial article about the horrendous odors emitted from Lee County Landfill.

Consequently, it’s easy to see the point of the plaintiffs in the Lee County Landfill lawsuit, which returned to court this week for a few necessary clarifications, prior to an appeal. The plaintiffs in question, three couples, purchased lands and built homes long before the giant dump off Interstate 20 began accepting waste in 1994. Time passed and a huge pile of trash – some locals refer to the man-made feature as “Mt. Lee” – arose from the plain outside of Bishopville. Then it got hot and the trash, as trash is wont to do, began to emit a powerful odor. Motorists who regularly ply the I-20 stretch between Florence and Columbia can commiserate. It’s more common than not to catch a whiff of freshly minted landfill fumes when passing by the Highway 15-501 exit.”

Part of the issue in Lee County is that the landfill far exceeds the needs of tiny Lee. Most of the trash that goes into the Lee County landfill is from outside the county, much of it from outside the state. Some of it is from far outside the state – New York City. There’s something that’s just a little galling about those Yankees using a part of our state as a trash can.”

The State newspaper also had an article which reported the following:

“Six neighbors of the Lee County landfill won a stunning $2.3 million court verdict last year, when a federal jury agreed that powerful odors from the dump had escaped the site and affected nearby residents.”

“The case is considered unusual because odor lawsuits don’t typically go to trial for a verdict, but instead are settled, attorneys said.”

“But Gary Poliakoff, an attorney for the landfill’s neighbors, called those arguments “ludicrous,’’ saying the 2012 court decision is a strong lesson to industries to control odors that might affect nearby residents.  During last year’s trial in U.S. District Court in Columbia, landfill neighbors said the smells were so strong and nauseating that they sometimes could not have outdoor cookouts or garden in their yards. In one instance, neighbors who went outside to view a colorful rainbow fled back into the house because of the landfill’s stench, according to testimony. One resident likened the landfill to a “monster’’ that haunted the neighborhood.”

“Poliakoff said if the $2.3 million court award is overturned, people would not be able to collect more than token damages from industries, no matter how strong the odors are.“The U.S. Chamber always wants to express concern when it thinks some huge corporation is going to be hurt,’’ Poliakoff said Monday. “But the effect of these landfills, especially the one in Lee County, is they kill local business. They kill property values for people who live around them. They create economic dead zones.’’

“Republic Services, one of the nation’s largest garbage corporations, is the parent company of a local firm that owns the Lee County landfill. The mega dump, along Interstate 20 near Bishopville east of Columbia, is permitted to take more waste than any other dump in the state, much of it from other states. It is a destination for trash from states as far away as New Jersey and New York, which ship rail cars of rotting garbage to the 140-foot tall disposal site.”

“Poliakoff and other critics of the Lee County landfill say it is symbolic of South Carolina’s long legacy of catering to the waste industry. As nuclear and radioactive dumps have scaled back operations, the household garbage industry still is keenly interested in expanding in South Carolina, he said. At the same time, officials in New Jersey have expressed interest in shipping lightly radioactive soil to the Lee County landfill for disposal.”


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