EPA finds toxic chemicals in flooded out homes after hurricane

CHERAW, S.C. — MJ Martin watched as volunteers carried damaged and destroyed belongings out of her flooded basement Wednesday.

"I just feel awful for my neighbors. It's so much worse for them," she said. "I'm lucky."

Martin lives across the street from Huckleberry Park in Cheraw.

Florence bombarded the area with 22 inches of rain, sending four feet of water into the park and into homes nearby.

In that flood water, mud which destroyed flooring, furniture and carried in the sediment, were toxic chemicals from a long defunct textile plant.

The Burlington Fiber Plant once used now illegal Polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCBS, and disposed of its waste in sludge ponds.

Those toxic PCBS are still in the soil.

The area is a superfund site, and last spring, the Environmental Protection Agency began a lengthy clean up around 14 homes that border a drainage ditch behind the plant where the chemicals were dumped in the '60s and '70s.

The initial cleanup is finished, but crews were still working down from the plant across the creek that flows through Huckleberry Park.

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