For the first time in a year, Brookchase and Lakeview Landing residents heard what could be good news regarding their complaints about nearby concrete plants.
Approximately 60 residents showed up for a meeting with officials from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control last Thursday to air their complaints. DHEC officials told the crowd that Blue Dot Readi-Mix and MacLeod, the two concrete factories in Perimeter 521 Business Park that are not enclosed will be enclosing their main plants, and hopefully eliminating some of the noise and dust created by the plants' operations.
Cemex and Concrete Supply, the remaining concrete factories in the business park already have enclosed operations.
Members of Friends of Indian Land, a group that has been actively working to improve conditions in the neighborhoods, said although this may seem like a step forward, the group still has many concerns.
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"I'm trying to stay positive," Brookchase resident Earnest Garvin said. "But what happens when they make these changes and there are still noises coming from them?"
Because of a quirk in the law, the county's noise ordinances were deemed unenforceable in April after the magistrate and sheriff's department reviewed them.
However, Lancaster County Council Chairman Rudy Carter told residents he believes the ordinances are enforceable and that FOIL needed to take the noisy factories to court as a "test case."
FOIL leader Scott Bruntmeyer said they would.
Another remaining concern, according to several residents, is the property values of homes located near the concrete plants.
Melba Grant, a resident of Brookchase, has had her home on the market for more than six months. More than 30 realtors have shown the home to potential buyers with no success. Many people refused to even enter the home, she said.
"[My realtor] said my house would never sell at market value. I could not give my house away," Grant said. "I love my house but I did not want to be there until I die."
Residents' concerns about fly ash, a product used in concrete manufacturing, and its affect on the air quality were told that an air monitor will be placed in Brookchase within the next two weeks.
The monitor will take measurements 24 hours a day for one month, said DHEC's Air Laboratory Director Scott Reynolds.
"It will tell what is in the air. The dust, the dirt that could cause health issues," Scott Reynolds.
Carter said steps seem to be made in the right direction.
"This will hopefully eliminate the majority of the problems, the noise and the dust." "Ya'll just cross your fingers that this works because it's the closest we've ever been."