AVX demolition plans delay pollution cleanup proposal in Myrtle Beach

VX Corp. plans to demolish some of the buildings on its property.

VX Corp. plans to demolish some of the buildings on its property. Photo by Steve Jessmore.

Originally published in TheSunNews.com
By David Wren – dwren@thesunnews.com

AVX Corp. plans to demolish its manufacturing facility along 17th Avenue South in Myrtle Beach, and that likely demolition will delay a plan to clean up decades-long groundwater pollution at its site, according to officials with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

That delay, however, will have no impact on cleanup plans in the roughly 10-block neighborhood to the northeast of AVX.DHEC this week proposed a plan to remove the degreaser trichloroethylene, or TCE, from the neighborhood’s groundwater. The plan would reduce the levels of TCE to drinking water standards within a 15-year period, and work could begin as early as next fall.

Cleaning up the AVX property, however, could take longer because of the company’s demolition plans. AVX – which makes capacitors, or chips, for electronic products – told state regulators in a report this year that the company is consolidating all chip manufacturing at a newer location southwest of the old one on the Myrtle Beach property. The move is expected to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impacts, according to the company. Once that consolidation is complete, AVX plans to tear down the old manufacturing facility – referred to as MB-1 – that has been a mainstay along 17th Avenue South for decades.

The planned demolition caused DHEC to divide its cleanup plan into two phases – the neighborhood near AVX and then the AVX property itself.

“The removal of buildings at the AVX site will help with the environmental assessment of the property,” said Carol Minsk, a hydro geologist with DHEC and the project manager overseeing the cleanup. “We didn’t want to hold up offsite remediation, however, so we divided the site into two units.”

It is not clear when the demolition will take place. Minsk said she has been focused on starting the neighborhood cleanup and “has not pressed for a schedule on the building removal yet.”

AVX spokesman Kurt Cummings did not respond to a request for comments. A company report sent to DHEC this year indicated the company is in the final stages of moving production to the newer facility….

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