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Environmental groups to sue over plastic pellet pollution

Distribution & Logistics
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Three environmental groups have sent a notice to Frontier Logistics that they intend to sue the company, accusing it of polluting the water with plastic from its packaging facility at Union Pier Terminal.

The 60-day notice, submitted by the Southern Environmental Law Center in its role as the legal arm of the Coastal Conservation League and Charleston Waterkeeper, is a legal requirement before the filing of a Clean Water Act enforcement case.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control alleged in July (.pdf) that Frontier Logistics violated the state’s Pollution Control Act by allowing plastic pellets to spill into Charleston Harbor from its facility at 32 Washington St. in Charleston. Plastic pellets were found washed ashore on beaches on Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms.

The plastic pellets are about the size of fish eggs; they can be melted and reshaped into common plastic products.

Charleston Waterkeeper Andrew Wunderley said in a news release that his group has evidence that Frontier’s pollution is ongoing and that DHEC has not taken any enforcement action against Frontier Logistics.

“At the sites we sample week after week, we continue to find consistently high numbers of pellets,” Wunderley said. “Frontier must be held accountable for polluting our harbor, beaches and waterways with its plastic pellets, especially when we have no state or local safeguards protecting our waterways from plastic pellet pollution.”

Paul Heard, vice president of business and finance and general counsel for Frontier Logistics, said he had not seen the notice sent by the environmental groups and that he didn’t feel comfortable commenting. He said, however, that Frontier has met with DHEC about the plastic pollution over the past few months and the company has put precautions in place to prevent further pollution.

Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

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