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Marsh Restoration Proposed for Koppers Hazardous Waste Site in Charleston, South Carolina

NOVEMBER 30, 2018 — On November 19, the Department of Justice announced that a consent decree was lodged on November 9, 2018 in the hazardous waste case of Koppers Co., Inc. in Charleston, South Carolina.

Body of water with marsh in background.
Koppers Hazardous Waste Site in Charleston, South Carolina. Image credit: NOAA.

The settlement, estimated at $3 million, will go toward resolving natural resource damage claims and to restore habitats injured by pollution. Koppers Co., Inc. was a wood treatment and fertilizer manufacturing plant that operated from 1940 to 1978 and released hazardous substances into the Ashley River, groundwater, and surrounding wetlands.

The EPA found that nearly 140 acres of tidal marsh had been contaminated with (PAHs) and heavy metals. Sediment samples found PAHs in amounts that would be toxic to be bottom-dwelling invertebrates, and potentially to other aquatic life. The clean-up of the site concluded in 2003. The consent decree lodged in November of this year outlines restoration projects aimed at compensating the public for injuries to water quality, sediment, wetlands, fish, and wildlife.

Under the proposed $3 million settlement, Beazer East, Inc. will implement a 70-acre marsh restoration project valued at approximately $1.2 million and provide funding to the Trustees to plan and implement projects to benefit important habitats. This funding includes $400,000 for approximately 45 acres of marsh restoration that will be implemented in cooperation with the City of Charleston. $390,000 will go to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to compensate for injuries to groundwater, and $1 million to reimburse federal and state trustee assessment costs. These projects will benefit local communities that value clean and vibrant habitats and fisheries for recreation and commercial uses.

The public can view and comment on the proposed consent decree through December 16, 2018.

For further information, contact Megan.Ewald@noaa.gov.

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