Press Release | March 4, 2024

Columbia carpet facility threatens rivers and drinking water sources

Groups to sue if illegal PFAS pollution not addressed

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today, the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Congaree Riverkeeper, warned Shaw Industries that the groups will file a lawsuit if the carpet manufacturer fails to stop its illegal discharges of PFAS, a class of toxic “forever chemicals” that can bioaccumulate and affect human health at low levels.

In a letter notifying Shaw of its plans, SELC outlined how Shaw’s discharges and other illegal actions at its Columbia plant violate the federal Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

“Shaw is discharging toxic chemicals that harm public health at very low levels into a State scenic river and a drinking water source for thousands of South Carolinians,” said Carl Brzorad, SELC Attorney. “We won’t let Shaw pass off the burden of dealing with this PFAS pollution to those downstream – it has to stop.”

Shaw Industries owns and operates a 470-acre facility that manufactures fiber and nylon pellet chips for use in carpets. The plant is on the Lower Saluda River, designated a State Scenic River by the state legislature and protected as a drinking water source for West Columbia and Cayce. Shaw’s dumping of untreated wastewater containing PFAS into the river threatens those cities as well as wildlife and the many recreators who enjoy the Lower Saluda.

“Every time Shaw illegally releases PFAS into the Lower Saluda, they put the health of the river and downstream communities at risk,” said Bill Stangler, Congaree Riverkeeper. “The citizens of South Carolina deserve clean water, especially those in West Columbia and Cayce who rely on the river for drinking water.”

If Shaw fails to remedy the violations of the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by the end of applicable notice periods, the groups will move forward with a lawsuit.

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

Rachel Chu

Communications Manager (SC)

Phone: 843-720-5270
Email: [email protected]

Partner Contacts

Bill Stangler

Congaree Riverkeeper

Phone: 803-760-3357
Email: [email protected]