DHEC taking action to stop spread of PCBs across SC - FOX Carolina 21

DHEC taking action to stop spread of PCBs across SC

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Environmental officials say PCBs have been illegally dumped in Upstate sewer systems. (File/FOX Carolina) Environmental officials say PCBs have been illegally dumped in Upstate sewer systems. (File/FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

South Carolina officials are taking measures they hope will help stop the spread of toxic chemicals to water treatment systems across the state.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Wednesday it is implementing an emergency regulation preventing landfills or farmers from using sludge that contains any level of PCBs.

DHEC director Catherine Templeton told The Associated Press she needed to step in following a rash of discoveries of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, in sewer treatment systems throughout the state.

PCBs are man-made organic chemicals that were used for decades in a variety of industrial applications. They have been shown to cause ailments causing cancer and were banned in 1979.

Templeton says she's also asking law enforcement to hold people illegally dumping the chemicals accountable.

Some of the illegal PCBs have been found in the Upstate. DHEC said elevated levels of PCB were found in the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District, Greenville's Renewable Water Resources and the Town of Lyman.

ReWA, Lyman Public Works and the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District said they all had a specific kind of PCB that was used as a coolant in transformers and electric motors, but its use was discontinued more than 40 years ago.

DHEC also issued a cease and desist order against a Greer waste company after they said test results revealed PCB contamination.

DHEC is working to find and stop whoever is dumping PCBs.

To report illegal discharges, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-864-23-CRIME or 911 immediately. Additional tips can be made to DHEC's toll-free 24-hour emergency response line at 1-888-481-0125.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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