Businesses in South Carolina are racking up huge fines for pollution.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Bureau of Land and Waste Management publishes Enforcement Action reports several times each year. This part of the agency is in place to make sure businesses are following the rules when it comes to pollution in our air and water…among other responsibilities.
There appears to be no shortage of violators.
According to DHEC, the agency issued $1,930,854.08 in fines in 2016.
So far this year, DHEC slapped companies across the state with $2,205,264.04 for violations.
However, the agency isn’t always collecting what it billed.
For 2016, it only collected $1,791,057…a shortage of $139,797.08.
So far this year, the agency only collected $1,914,682.05…that is $290,581.99 light.
According to the DHEC website, violators have 30 days to pay their fines, but that doesn’t always happen.
“The difference between what’s been assessed and what’s shown as collected is due to a number of factors,” said DHEC Spokesman Tim Kelly. “Some may be on a payment schedule, while other parties may have subsequently demonstrated an inability to pay.”
The Count on 2 Investigators found three Lowcountry companies were assessed fines in excess of $20,000 since December 2016.
Century Aluminum in Goose Creek: $22,000 for air pollution violations.
Nucor in Berkeley County: $28,000 for air pollution violations.
Argos Cement in Harleyville: $40,000 for failing to limit carbon monoxide, and lead emissions.
We reached out to those companies for comment, but have not heard back.