A public hearing was held in Conway Tuesday night for Santee Cooper's proposal for their closure plan of the coal ash pond at the Grainger Generating Station.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control opened the floor so that members of the Conway community could hear the proposed plan and comment on it.
“We've submitted a plan. We think it's a good plan. So now it's up to DHEC to review and let us know”, said Mollie Gore, spokesperson for Santee Cooper.
Santee Cooper's plan would involve incasing the ash pond underground in an enclosed cement barrier and covering it up with a lid. Gore says that after consultation, this is the best plan that is available.
“The one that we've proposed, we feel is the best. It's more sustainable and is more cost effective”, said Gore.
However many residents disagree.
“I don't want it here, it's too dangerous”, said Patricia Milley, a Conway resident who was in attendance at the hearing.
Milley says that when she was younger, she used to water ski and swim in the Waccamaw River, which is right next to the Santee Cooper plant. She doesn't think that it would be enough to simply incase the pond.
“That's unacceptable to me. They need to dig them up and take them to the boondocks and bury them and seal them completely”, said Millie.
Others worried what would happen if the polluted materials were able to get into the ground.
“You can't filter heavy metals out of the water”, said Candice Brasington, another resident in attendance at the hearing.
Brasington has a private well on her property. She's worried that if the pollutants were able to leak out, they would contaminate her drinking water. She thinks even if it costs more to move the ash pond, it would still be worth it.
“Human life is worth more than any kind of dollar sign”, said Brasington. “We're worth the money, our lives, our health, our children”, she added.
Residents hope that whatever decision is finally made, their safety will be considered.
Even though the hearing date has passed, DHEC will still accept comments until May 99th. If you're interested in commenting on Santee Cooper's proposed plan, email Randy Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.