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RV Park Opponents Ask DHEC to Rescind Septic Tank Permit - November 12th 2021

Four homeowners’ associations and three conservation organizations have asked the governing Board of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to review and rescind a septic tank permit issued by the DHEC staff for a proposed Recreational Vehicle (RV) park on Landrum Mill Road in Campobello, South Carolina.

The homeowners’ associations (The Enclave at Fairview Farm, Golden Hills of Fairview, Greenspace of Fairview, and North Pacolet Association) together comprise about 5,000 acres and consist of over 100 members and shareholders.  

The conservation organizations are the Southern Environmental Law Center, the South Carolina Native Plant Society, and Upstate Forever.  

The RV park, proposed by an entity named T Tree Farms RV Park, would accommodate 52 RVs on a tract of about 37 acres. The site directly borders Goldmine Creek, a high-quality tributary to the North Pacolet River, and provides habitat for two extremely rare plants (the Dwarf-Flowered Heartleaf and the Ashy Hydrangea).  

In their appeal, the associations cite several misrepresentations, errors and delays as grounds for rescinding the permit:

  • The application for the septic tank permit states that Landrum Mill Road is a public road, but it is, in fact, a narrow privately-owned road.
  • The application states that the RV park will be served by public water, but there is, in fact, no public water available at the site.
  • The specifications of the septic system, including size, flow rates, and capacity, are substandard.  
  • Neither the RV park developer nor the DHEC staff evaluated the impacts of the park’s operation on the water quality and aquatic habitat of Goldmine Creek and on the two rare plants. 
  • It took over five months for the DHEC staff to respond to the associations’ request under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act for documents about the proposed park.  FOIA generally requires a response within 40 days.  The associations filed their appeal shortly after finally receiving the documents from DHEC.

Russell Rock, one of the leaders of the opposition and a resident of Golden Hills of Fairview, said, “This is not your typical septic tank. This is a very large multi-tank system that would accept the waste from up to 52 RVs.  While in the RV, the waste is treated with formaldehyde and other harsh chemicals.  DHEC needs to be extremely careful and diligent in reviewing all aspects of this system and the associated leach field.  They failed to do that.”

In their filing, the conservation organizations support the homeowners’ associations appeal and specifically ask for a thorough review of the impacts of the proposed park on the two rare plants and on Goldmine Creek. 

Katie Ellis, President of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, said, “The Dwarf-Flowered Heartleaf and the Ashy Hydrangea are two of the rarest plants in our state, but it appears that neither the developer nor DHEC gave any consideration to the impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed septic tank system on these two plants or in fact, on any of the flora and fauna in the area.”

Andrea Cooper, the Executive Director of Upstate Forever, said, “Our organization has been actively involved in protecting the rural character and scenic beauty of this special area of our state for over 20 years.  We hold the conservation easement on the 1,331-acre Greenspace of Fairview property that is literally across the road from the proposed RV park.  We also hold easements on several other beautiful properties in the area.  This is the wrong place for an RV park.”

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