Charleston-area local governments have rescinded their request to rezone property near Bowman to allow the construction of a sewage treatment plant.

Many Bowman-area residents were gearing up to challenge the rezoning request, forming an online “Stand Up Bowman” campaign against the waste composting plant.

The Charleston Regional Resource Recovery Authority cancelled its rezoning request before it could be considered by the Orangeburg County Planning Commission on Wednesday. Planning staff recommended the commission deny the request.

“Unfortunately, there are misconceptions about composting, particularly due to the issues with Williamsburg Recycling, LLC. Our indoor compost facility is a state-of-the-art facility with complete odor control and minimal storm and groundwater impacts,” CRRRA Chairman Jarred Jones said.

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“We assumed the rezoning hearing and county council meeting would be our opportunity to educate and advocate on the benefits of composting,” Jones continued. “We still believe Orangeburg County is a good location for producing this agricultural product. However, we want to be partners in the community and it became obvious this was not the ideal location, hence the withdrawal of the rezoning request.”

CRRRA is a utility partnership including the Charleston Water System, Mount Pleasant Waterworks and the North Charleston Sewer District.

McGill Environmental Systems submitted a rezoning request application on behalf of the CRRRA to build a $25 million, 120,000-square-foot compost facility.

It was looking to develop a commercial scale, all-indoor biosolids treatment facility to produce compost or fertilizer. It would have been located near the Bowman/Vance Exit 165 on Interstate 26.

According to the zoning application, the site is made up of two lots of about 181 acres. The company had been asking to rezone about 45 acres of the land.

The property is currently zoned forest and agriculture. The group wanted to rezone the property to business industrial.

The facility was to be owned by the CRRRA with McGill Environmental Systems, a national compost producer, constructing and operating the facility. The final product would then have been sold mainly for landscaping and agricultural purposes.

Bowman resident Melissa Weathers appeared before Orangeburg County Council on Monday to ask council to vote against the proposal when it appeared before them.

“Facilities similar to this one have ruined the livelihood of the towns they are in,” Weathers said. “Runoffs from these facilities have ruined crops and killed livestock.”

Weathers said the proposal prompted the mobilization of Bowman residents.

Following Weathers’ comments, Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young notified the public that the rezoning request had been rescinded. Young’s announcement received a round of applause.

Other residents, including Bowman Mayor Patsy Rhett, were preparing to speak on the matter but instead expressed relief the proposal is not moving forward.

“We oppose any of that wastewater site coming to Bowman,” Rhett said.

“I stand in agreement with our community that we are trying to grow and not reduce.”

Orangeburg County Councilman Johnny Ravenell, whose district includes Bowman, tore up a sheet of paper of prepared comments, to the delight of those opposed to the project.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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