1st Steps on Addressing Lydia Mill Ruins

A start of a process that could lead to a clean-up of the Lydia Mill ruins began this week. The City of Clinton has been awarded an Environmental Protection Agency Community-wide Assessment Grant of up to $300,000.  At Monday’s December meeting of Clinton City Council, City Manager Bill Ed Cannon explained the grant to council. This is part of the EPA’s  Brownfield Program and is intended to identify and assess hazards present at former industrial sites. This type grant did not state a specific location, but Mr. Cannon said he believes it should be used for the Lydia Mill site.

That site is contiguous to the city limits of Clinton but is not within the city limits. Cannon explained that this type grant could be used for property outside the city if the city believes that hazards there could affect the city.

Mr. Cannon suggested that the grant be initially used to conduct Phase I and Phase II assessment of hazards that may exist on the site.  Phase I basically identifies what hazards, such as asbestos, chemicals, etc., that are potentially present at the location.  Phase II would test the site for the presence of the identified hazards. Cannon also advised council that additional EPA Brownfield Grants might be available to actually conduct cleanup so that the property can be redeveloped.

Laurens County Attorney Sandy Cruikshanks attended the meeting. When asked for his input, Mr. Cruikshanks told Clinton’s City council that property taxes on the property are unpaid and the present owner does not intend to make any attempt to retain the property by paying past due taxes. He indicated the land will instead be placed in Laurens County’s Forfeit Land Commission making Laurens County the actual owner of the property.  He said that the county would very much appreciate the city’s assistance in conducting a Phase I and Phase II study at the old Lydia Mill site.

After discussion, Clinton City Council approved the use of the Brownfield Grant at the former Lydia Mill industrial site with a unanimous vote.