Lake Hartwell PCB Settlement Background
In 1995, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (the Trustees) began assessing injuries to natural resources caused by releases of PCBs into Twelvemile Creed and Lake Hartwell. The Trustees' investigation resulted in a claim for two major areas of natural resource injury: (1) Ecological Injury, especially to Twelvemile Creek, and (2) the Recreational Fishery Injury of Lake Hartwell. A settlement with Schlumberger Technology Corporation (STC) occurred in 2006, resulting in approval of a consent decree in federal court on May 30, 2006. The Ecological Injury is being addressed by removal of the two Woodside Dams and associated stream restoration being performed by STC. The Ecological Injury was further addressed by the funds being provided for biological monitoring of dam removal and some additional stream restoration projects in the watershed.
The injury to the Lake Hartwell Recreational Fishery is the primary focus of the plan under consideration. Lake Hartwell is a regionally important recreational fishing resource. Because of the presence of PCBs, fish consumption advisories have been in place on the lake since 1976. By restricting people’s ability to keep and consume the fish they catch, consumption advisories have been shown to reduce the value of a water body to recreational anglers. This reduction in value resulting from PCB’s and the associated advisories is the basis of the injury to the recreational fishery.
The Trustees have developed a set of preferred projects to restore lost recreational fishing opportunities. These projects are presented in a document entitled “South Carolina Recreational Fishing Compensation Plan”. The Trustees are also aware the public interest exists in two unfunded projects, also described in the plan, removal of the "third dam" and contribution to the Water Education and Environmental Center. The purpose of this survey is to gather information from the public about what projects should be funded with the remaining settlement funds to restore the injury to Lake Hartwell’s recreational fishery. The information will be considered along with other factors required by law, regulation, and the Trustees Restoration, Compensation and Determination Plan, to determine what restoration projects will be funded by the Trustees with the remaining settlement funds. While your feedback is very important and will be seriously considered, the purpose of this survey is not to have a "vote" on projects, but to obtain information for the Trustees' consideration.
To find out more about the different projects visit www.dnr.sc.gov/news/fishingcomp to read the complete compensation plan and/or to watch the online videos that describe the projects.