Friday, March 18, 2011

Military in Dispute Over South Carolina Contamination

by Duane Craig

The U.S. military finds itself at the crux of a land contamination case in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. AVX Corp., a maker of electronics used by the military, says the federal government should pay half the cost of remediating groundwater pollution beneath 17th Avenue South because it carelessly handled trichloroethylene (TCE) there and it did inadequate testing when trying to determine the extent of contamination.

The cleanup cost is estimated to be $6 million. The military claims it's not its problem because it simply did not contribute to the pollution. AVX says there were extensive military operations on the land before AVX got there and said there were two unlined landfills, pesticide storage and a vehicle maintenance center that created the contamination.

The lawyer for the U.S. says the military didn’t use TCE on land east of the airport’s runway so it's not to blame for contamination there. AVX says however the military operations on both sides of the runway were the same so it is responsible for contamination on both sides. AVX also says the military was careless about how it handled potential contaminants and sighted an example where it didn’t hook up an adequate drainage system and TCE was simply dumped on the ground for about 20 years.

Here’s the story.

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