The Spartanburg, S.C., County Council voted unanimously Tuesday (Dec. 20) morning to change the county’s unified land management ordinance. One of the changes will block TreatMed from opening a medical waste treatment facility in a vacant building near a local campground.
New Channel 7 reported that council member David Britt says TreatMed can set up its business elsewhere in the county as long as their building conforms to new setback requirements.
TreatMed President David Squalli calls the code change “unfair” and says it’s the result of leaders caving to pressure from a public that does not understand his business. He says he will pursue legal action because he has already invested money in the property and did so with the blessing of county planners.
DHEC could still approve TreatMed’s permit application but is not expected to do so since one of the requirements is that the applicant complies with local codes.
TreatMed applied for an infectious waste permit with the Department of Health and Environmental Control. The company, based in Greenville, uses pressurized steam to sterilize medical waste from hospitals and doctors’ offices. In 2010, it purchased the vacant building on Franke Drive, giving the county planning department notice of its plans to open the facility. In September 2011, the county sent a letter stating that the plans for the building “do not conflict with the county’s land management ordinance” and that TreatMed would be issued a county development permit after it receives approval from DHEC.
At a public hearing in October, residents of Cannons Campground voiced concern about the safety of hauling waste to the facility. TreatMed officials say their process is safe and environmentally-friendly, and if an accident were to occur on the road, a third-party company would be called immediately to begin clean-up.
County council member Britt says changes to the ordinance were not aimed at TreatMed.
“We were already in the process of updating our land use codes and our solid waste ordinance in August, before all the discussion about TreatMed really started,” says Britt. “I know the timing doesn’t look good, but we are not doing this in response to TreatMed.”
However, Britt also admitted that he is against TreatMed’s proposal to open up shop in the Cannons Campground community.
“Those people have some real concerns, and who can blame them after what they’ve been through with Hoechst Celanese?” says Britt. “They need a voice and I am their voice and I’m going to fight against this. I told David Squalli and his attorney a long time ago that this is not the place or the time to do this.”
Squalli says if the changes are approved, the county can expect a legal fight.
“This is not just and is not fair,” says Squalli. “I am going to fight this all the way. Because if they can do this now and get away with it, what’s to stop them from doing it to another business that has done things the right way?”