EPA to Transition from Unified Command at the Able Contracting Fire Site in Ridgeland, South Carolina
RIDGELAND, S.C. (October 15, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) jointly announced today that there will be a transition in the lead response role for fire suppression and cleanup at the Able Contracting site in Ridgeland. As of today, DHEC will assume the lead role of the continued efforts to protect the community and environment, including overseeing the complete extinguishment of the fire and the removal of the necessary material to reduce the risk of reignition.
“We greatly appreciate the assistance that EPA has provided to the State to help address this fire,” said Myra Reece, DHEC’s Director of Environmental Affairs. “DHEC is committed to continuing to work with county and local officials to address environmental and human health concerns related to this site and keeping the nearby community informed.”
“EPA partnered with the State of South Carolina and Jasper County as part of a successful unified response to the fire," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “A smooth transition between EPA and DHEC will ensure protection of the residents of Jasper County as this cleanup moves forward.”
All levels of government – county, state and federal – worked together to respond to the Able Contracting fire and protect human health and the environment. In addition to leading efforts onsite to extinguish the fire since August 16, 2019, the EPA has also assisted the State and Jasper County by providing air quality monitoring at the site and in the surrounding community and ensuring the safe temporary relocation of residents immediately adjacent to the burning waste pile. In that time, the EPA directed and funded the safe removal and proper disposal of 3,725 truckloads carrying an estimated 67,000 cubic yards of fire-related debris from the site.
DHEC remains focused on eliminating the threat to public health and the environment as the department transitions to the lead agency.