March 5, 2019
A man has pleaded guilty to discharging a pollutant into the waters of the state, which is a Clean Water Act violation, after an investigation by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).
In June 2017, SCDNR Officer Treye Byars was contacted by a resident of Eastover to report a chemical tanker truck seen several times parked off Highway 601 and Westvaco Road—each time noting an awful smell in the area.
On July 7, 2017 just before 6 a.m., an informant called to report the truck was there again. When Byars arrived on scene, the truck was gone, but he noticed a sewage-type smell and called SCDHEC to gather samples from the site.
On July 11, 2017, pictures were captured of the truck and driver, 44-year-old Michael Greene, at the site appearing to be dumping. At this time, the EPA was called in to assist with the investigation. It was found the trucking company was contracted to haul 75 tons a day of leachate, or runoff water from the landfill, to Florence at an approved dumping site. This leachate contained 17 different chemicals, such as mercury, lead, lithium and selenium.
The EPA was able to determine the site was a navigable waterway, with the site being eight miles from where it enters the Wateree River.
Greene faces up to three years in prison.
“I’m very proud of Treye Byars and his dedication to seeing this through from beginning to end,” said Lt. Colonel Jamie Landrum. “He took a tip from a concerned citizen and that tip turned into a major EPA violation. No matter how big or how small the public might think their tip is, let us know because we’ll always investigate it thoroughly. That just shows the dedication and hard work our officers do day in and day out.”
SCDNR, EPA, and SCDHEC are still looking into the impacts to the area from this illegal dumping.