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EPA fines South Carolina plant $1.1M after odor complaints

December 30, 2021 GMT

CATAWBA, S.C. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will fine a South Carolina paper mill $1.1 million after regulators received thousands of complaints over a “noxious” rotten egg-like smell coming from the plant.

The New Indy factory in Catawba has also agreed to take action to curb the amount of hydrogen sulfide it releases, the EPA announced in a Wednesday statement.

Regulators found the plant was emitting high amounts of the smelly gas that can cause irritation to the eyes, nose or throat, and difficulty breathing for people with asthma.

The proposed consent decree will help address the pollution that affected communities surrounding the plant, EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman said.

“Communities near and far from this facility have been experiencing difficult circumstances that have altered their daily lives,” he said.

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New Indy mill manager Toby Hobson told news outlets the company has agreed to pay the fine and has cooperated with regulators throughout the process to implement improvements.

Residents complained earlier this year that the smell was wafting over to nearby counties and into neighboring areas in North Carolina, causing health issues such as nausea and headaches for some. The factory is located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the North Carolina state line.