H2O Blue Withdraws Permit Application for Laurens County Site

July 20, 2021

As local residents were gearing up to fight the permit for a hauled wastewater receiving and evaporation facility on Highway 56 North, it was announced Tuesday afternoon that the application was being pulled from consideration.

In a statement sent to many local residents who reached out to him about their concerns, Randy Thompson with DHEC said that “today, H2O Blue withdrew their permit application to DHEC’s Bureau of Water for a No Discharge (ND) permit for the proposed Hauled Wastewater Receiving and Evaporating Facility…”  As a result, DHEC has withdrawn the draft permit that was placed on public notice on July 2, 2021.

With serious concerns about the long-term impacts of such a facility, the news of the pulled permit application spread quickly through Laurens County.

Dr. and Mrs Stephen Orr nearby residents and owners of a sustainable multi-species farm provided the following statement in response to the news: “Many thanks to the 56 N community and the greater Clinton community for coming together to keep our environment and community free from potential Industrial pollution. We would like to personally thank Gene McCall the experienced environmental attorney hired by a group of us, for jumping in and doing fact-based research and helping our cause. Lastly, many thanks to Brenda Stewart for spearheading our fact-finding endeavors, environmental lawyer vetting, and for keeping us on target and focused to accomplish our goal!”

Chris and Edith Ann Grant provided the following statement: “We appreciate the city of Clinton and Laurens County and their respective councils, as well as local businesses who helped us seek information and answers to our concerns. Most importantly, we want to extend a special thanks to our neighbors who came together in a time of community need. This demonstrates the principles of what our great country was built upon. While we do not wish to discourage new economic opportunities that will strengthen our local economy, we do wish to protect our families, our friends, and our community.”

“As we look back at the past few days, we can stand in amazement at what can be accomplished when a group of people stand together as a strong group to fight for the common good of family, friends and community. Not to mention to meet a wrong head on and make it right.,” said Mike Johnson owner of Mi-Li Angus Farms. “Thanks to all for your concern and willingness to help stop what could have been a disaster for Laurens county.”

This story was first reported on the Buzz and the support from the local community, city, county officials and state legislators, has been strong from the beginning.  

Last week a meeting was quickly convened to address concerns and Brenda Stewart established the Keep Laurens County Clean Facebook group to increase awareness of the pending permit and related concerns.  By Friday of last week, the Keep Laurens County Clean Fund was established at Arthur State Bank and Gene McCall a widely recognized environmental attorney with more than thirty years of experience was hired to do research and assist in the opposition of the permit. 

The people of Laurens County came together to oppose the permit and this one was stopped.  But what’s next?

It’s time for the Planning Commission and Laurens County Council to make land use planning a priority. Without it you can expect to see this again.  It’s only a matter of time.