Help Wanted: Find Aiken County's Environmental Hazards

September 23, 2005
You know where they are and you probably want them cleaned up. We’re talking about something called brownfields. News 12 is on your side with what a brownfield is and how you can help.

Clearwater’s Seminole Mills is an example of a brownfield. It’s basically environmentally contaminated land that’s also an eyesore. And for one woman who lives in this neighborhood, cleaning up Seminole Mills is an answer to her prayers.

It’s Muriel Pollock’s daily routine.

“I call it my Psalms 119 walk,” Pollock said.

During her walk, Muriel memorizes scripture and prays. Much of the scenery in her neighborhood is an old textile plant: Seminole Mills. It’s been closed for years and is now mostly rubble. But inside lies chromium and asbestos. Seminole Mills is a brownfield.

“It’s such a waste of money and an eyesore around here, so I’ve been praying that somehow, some way, the Lord would work it out to get it fixed up,” Pollock said.

It looks like God has answered Muriel’s prayers. Aiken County has a $200,000 grant to explore the contamination inside the mill, the first step to getting rid of it. But there’s a catch to that grant, the county also has to come up with a list of other brownfields. And that’s where you can help.

“Some of them you can’t tell because you don’t know the history of the site, but the people that have lived in the community for a long time know what was there 20, 30, 40 years ago,” Joan Donnelly, Assistant County Administrator.

Once the county compiles a list, they’ll use $2 million in sales tax to clean up the worst offenders. And the walk around the block, in a lot of places, could be looking brighter.

Think you’ve seen a brownfield near you? You can tell county leaders about it at a series of meetings. Click here to find out where they are.

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