Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Pinewood Site?
The Pinewood Site is a closed hazardous waste landfill near Pinewood, SC.
2. What is in the Pinewood Site landfill?
The Pinewood Site received both hazardous and non-hazardous waste during its operations. As a result of its landfill operations, the Pinewood Site generates leachate.
3. What is Leachate?
Leachate is the liquid that has percolated through or drained from solid waste or other man emplaced materials and that contains soluble, partially soluble, or miscible components removed from such waste.
4. What environmental laws govern the Pinewood Site?
The Pinewood Site is required to comply with various federal and state laws pertaining to the handling of solid waste. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) is the public law that creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste. The law describes the waste management program mandated by Congress that gave the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) authority to develop the RCRA program. The South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (“SCDHEC”) is authorized by the EPA to implement RCRA.
The Pinewood Site is also subject to the South Carolina Solid Waste Policy and Management Act of 1991 and regulations relating thereto that establish minimum standards for the site selection, design, operation, and closure of all solid waste landfills and structural fill areas.
The Pinewood Site must comply with certain portions of the Federal Clean Water Act which establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. SCDHEC has received authorization from the EPA to administer the Federal Clean Water Act.
The Pinewood Site is also subject to the Federal Clean Air Act which is a law designed to control air pollution on a national level. SCDHEC’s authority for administering air quality regulations is derived from provisions of the South Carolina Pollution Control Act and authority delegated by the EPA pursuant to the Federal Clean Air Act.
5. What is the current status of the Pinewood Site?
The Pinewood Site is now in post-closure care and, by permit, must be maintained and monitored until 2103.
6. What is post-closure care?
Federal and state law requires owners/operators of landfills to monitor and maintain a landfill once it is closed to protect against the release of hazardous constituents to the environment. Post-closure care at the Pinewood Site includes maintaining and monitoring a leachate collection system and a groundwater monitoring program, and permit compliance activities.
7. Who oversees the post-closure care?
Since 2003, a Trustee has overseen the day to day activities of the Pinewood Site. The initial Trustee was Kestrel Horizons, LLC. After Kestrel resigned in 2014, Pinewood Interim Administrator, Inc. (PIA) was appointed Interim Administrator. PIA was named successor Trustee in 2016 and changed its name to Pinewood Trustee, Inc.
8. How are the expenses of post-closure care paid?
The last landfill operator of the Pinewood Site was Safety-Kleen, Inc. It filed bankruptcy in 2000 and later resolved its post-closure care obligations through a settlement with SCDHEC and the EPA. This settlement created two trusts: 1) the Pinewood Trust, created to fund operations and maintenance costs for the Site and 2) the New Environmental Impairment Trust Fund, created to fund cleanup and restoration costs at the Site.
The Trust also receives an annual appropriation from the South Carolina Legislature since the settlement with Safety-Kleen was not sufficient to cover all expenses of post-closure care.
9. What is the cost of post-closure care annually?
The costs of annual post-closure care average approximately $4.8 million. This annual cost pays for on-site contractors to operate and maintain the Site and leachate collection, treatment and disposal, environmental consultants for testing and preparing reports required by the Site’s permits, Trustee compensation, taxes, insurance and utilities.
10. Is there evidence of contaminants from the landfill impacting Lake Marion?
There is no such evidence. The Pinewood Site has a robust detection monitoring program. There are over 200 groundwater monitoring wells ringing the Site which are regularly sampled by qualified hydrogeologists retained by the Trustee. The Trustee files regular reports detailing sampling results with SCDHEC. Regular monitoring has revealed no waste out of containment.
11. Will the Pinewood Site be cleaned up?
There is no current removal method or process to safely remove the waste in the landfill.