PICKENS COUNTY — The Pickens County Planning Commission has suspended MRR Southern’s land use permit citing “significant deviations” from the original agreement.
The land use permit centered around a proposed Class II landfill just off Highway 93 near Liberty.
According to the Commission’s suspension letter, Ronald Gilbertson of MRR Southern LLC, a Raleigh-based company, defined the type of waste for the landfill as lumber, vinyl siding, concrete and brick, grass clippings, leaves, limbs, and storm debris.
Gilbertson also indicated that the life span of the project would be for “20-25 years.”
“No mention was made of the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR), the need for a landfill liner, or plans to fill up the landfill quickly. Based in part on these representations by your company, the Planning Commission granted your land use request,” the letter read.
The Environmental Protection Agency states that CCR is created when coal is burned by power plants to produce electricity. CCR is one of the largest types of industrial waste generated in the United States. In 2012, 470 coal-fired electric utilities generated about 110 million tons of CCR.
The agreement for the landfill, located at S.C. 93 and Cartee Road, was originally created as part of an agreement to expand the county’s landfill facilities when the present availability was becoming limited in 2007. The proposed site borders on the industrial park in Liberty.
MRR Southern LLC, citing economic downturn in 2008 at a meeting in January 2015, never began construction despite the issuance of a permit by DHEC. The original intent was to dispose of non-toxic construction and demolition debris.
MRR’s original land use permit, issued in 2007, was reaffirmed in 2015 after an appearance by Dan Moore of MRR who, according to the Commission, “indicated that there were ‘no changes’ from the 2007 request.”
“We now understand from media reports that your company (MRR) plans to dispose of CCR in the proposed landfill,” wrote the Commission. “We have also learned that your filings with SCDHEC include plans for a significantly shorter life span of the facility (5 years) and that a liner would be installed in order to comply with Class III requirements despite the fact that you repeatedly characterized this landfill as a Class II facility in all of your communications with the Commission.
“These are significant deviations from the information you provided to us in 2007 and 2015. We consider these changes to be material alterations to the land use approved by the Commission and constitute violations of your land use permit.”
In response, the County Planning Commission suspended MRR’s land use permit for the project directing the company to “cease and desist any and all activities at the proposed site until such time as you (MRR) have presented sufficient information to the Commission of your intention to strictly comply with our 2007 and 2015 land use approval and receive a renewal of your permit from the Commission.”
The Commission went on to advise MRR that any violation of a land use approval is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine and/or jail time.
The Commission noted that each and every day of a continuing violation constitutes a separate offense.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.