Royster Fertilizer Site - Columbia

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On July 25, 2012, DHEC staff visited residents on Easy Street, Howe Street and Corning Road to request permission to collect soil samples from their front and/or back yards. Samples were also collected from nearby businesses and other public locations. Samples were taken from: 41 houses (52 total samples), 6 businesses (18 total samples), 2 parks (8 total samples), and 7 samples from public rights-of-way.

  • DHEC staff visited residents and businesses again on July 30, 2012 to share the findings of the soil sampling. Residents whose samples showed elevated levels of arsenic and/or lead were given a hand-out on how to reduce their exposure until a soil cleanup action could be coordinated.

DHEC recognized that knowing the contamination had spread beyond the former Royster property would be unsettling and upsetting to many families. DHEC’s first priority was to ensure the safety of all affected residents. DHEC swiftly confirmed that the communities surrounding the former Royster site were served by a public water system and communicated to residents that the contamination did not pose a risk to those who drank, prepared food, bathed or irrigated with water supplied by a public water system.

Blood & Urine Testing Provided to Residents

Due to the elevated levels of lead and arsenic that were found in soils of the Edisto Court Community, DHEC offered free urine testing for arsenic, and blood testing for lead, to residents within the affected area (Easy Street, Howe Street and Corning Road). The testing was offered to determine any possible recent exposure to lead or arsenic. DHEC staff went door-to-door to provide information on the testing. Those with children living in the affected area were strongly encouraged to have their children tested. The testing was performed over 2 days at Edisto Discovery Park Community Center in the Edisto Court neighborhood in early August 2012. A total of 80 residents were tested.

The results of the testing indicated that all levels were within the normal range and no medical follow-up was required. Lead, arsenic and other metals naturally occurring in nature may be detectable in people. Levels found in the body that do not cause illness or disease, and do not require treatment or further investigation, are considered to be in the “normal range.”

For questions or additional information about lead or arsenic toxicity, please contact Fran Marshall, DHEC State Toxicologist, at (803) 898-9956.

Notification of Final Phase of Cleanup on Commercial Properties

DHEC notified local residents by postcard that soil excavation work on the commercial properties along Commerce Drive had been completed and that this work included:

  • Excavating contaminated surface soils (0 to 2 foot depth) that exceeded DHEC’s cleanup criteria of 39 mg/kg for arsenic and 800 mg/kg for lead;
  • Transporting and disposing of excavated soils in a permitted landfill; and
  • Restoring the excavated areas with clean backfill.


Environment Ongoing Projects Pollution