PICKENS CO., S.C. (WSPA) – A lawsuit between Pickens County and MRR Upstate Recycling and Transfer company has come to an end.
In 2007, Pickens County hired MRR to build a landfill on Greenville Highway.
“Our landfill was filling up, so we needed something for the future and we contracted with a private company to build a landfill,” County Administrator Ken Roper said.
The landfill was going to hold nontoxic construction materials and debris.
However, in 2015 those plans were interrupted.
“That’s when word got to me and to other members of the county that MRR was contemplating putting coal ash in this landfill which is not something we ever agreed to,” Roper said.
The county says coal ash can very toxic and they never wanted to put it in the Pickens County environment.
“There’s been several examples in North Carolina where coal ash was stored in a way that wasn’t long term secure and it’s broken out and gotten into water ways, so those were the kinds of things that were concerning,” said Roper.
In 2016, Pickens County terminated their agreement with MRR. The company sued and, six years later, the state Supreme Court decided this week that MRR was in violation of the law.
“There is no coal ash coming and no potential for coal ash coming,” said Pickens County Council Chairman Chris Bowers.
Now, with a settlement between the county and MRR, Pickens County administrators said this is a huge victory for the community.
“Pickens County is a pristine, natural environment with the highest mountain in the state of South Carolina, the highest point at Sassafras. We have beautiful lakes and beautiful rivers,” Roper explained. “Last thing we would want to do is pollute any of that with some coal ash.”
In the agreement, coal ash is prohibited at this landfill, and MRR will have to build the landfill within one year.
If it’s not done in a year, they will have to pay the county, starting at $10,000, which will increase every month it is not done.
They will also be required to sell the landfill within 3 years.
Pickens County did agree to give up to $3,000,000 to help fund the project, but that will eventually be paid back to the county.