Public invited to comment on cleanup of contaminated site on N. Congress St

This dry cleaning facility operated from 1967 until 2006 at 207 N. Congress St.

WINNSBORO – A notice is posted in The Voice this week stating that public comments are being accepted on a proposed cleanup of environmental contamination on a property at 207 N. Congress Street in Winnsboro.

The public comment period, initiated by SC DHEC (the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control) extends through June 4, 2024.

A dry cleaning facility operated on the 0.27-acre property from 1967 until 2006. Town Manager Jason Taylor announced in March of last year that the Town of Winnsboro was proposing to purchase the property as part of the Town’s burgeoning downtown redevelopment efforts.

Because of the prospect that the property, which has been vacant for a number of years, could be contaminated from the dry cleaning process, Taylor asked council to put an option on the property to secure it while an environmental consultant examined the property for contamination. Council approved a $500 option to secure the property. It also agreed on a $10,000 price should the Town decided to make an offer on the property.

The DHEC notice states that the dry cleaning agents used at the facility to clean clothes – an industrial use – did contaminate the property. The notice also states that DHEC uses voluntary cleanup contracts to encourage productive re-use of Brownfield sites [properties previously developed for industrial or commercial purposes but are no longer used].

“While the property is secured with the $500 option, we’ll be able to move forward with the cleanup and hopefully turn the property into something a lot more viable,” Assistant Town Manager Chris Clausen said. ‘There are revolving loan funds available at the federal and state level that could provide dollars to remediate any contaminants that might be found at the site. These are funds that are available to the Town that are not usually afforded to most private individuals.” 

“On the flip side of that,” Taylor said, “we don’t want to spend a lot of time and work, then not have the property under control where we can close on it should we want to.  We don’t want to do all this and then have it snatched out from under us and be sold to someone else.

“The ultimate goal is to get the dilapidated property off the tax rolls and make downtown more attractive,” he said. “We do want to clean it up and make it productive again.”

The notice says that the Town is going to purchase the property and intends to market it to a restaurant developer, contingent on identifying a partner to operate it.

If the voluntary cleanup contract is implemented, DHEC will allow the Town to acquire the property as a Brownfield site because of the potential for environmental pollution from past activity on the property.

Under that voluntary cleanup contract, the Town will test soil and groundwater on the property, and if significant contamination is found, The Town will be required to take steps to protect human health and the environment.

“The Town of Winnsboro Products will not be responsible if anyone has been affected by the contamination,” the notice states. “The responsibility of former owners or operators of the property is not reduced by this contract,” the notice states.

The proposed contract can be viewed at To obtain printed copies of the notice, contact the DHEC Freedom of Information Office at 802-898-3882.

See the official notice below. Questions or comments may be directed to Konstantine Akhvlediani, Project Manager, by email at [email protected], telephone 803-898-0738, or toll-free telephone 85=66-576-3432. Written comments should be directed to Konstantine at SCDHEC, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]