Crime

Georgetown motel employee accused of dumping raw sewage into marsh

A body was found on the Black River near Pringles Ferry Road by a tournament fisherman in Georgetown County on Thursday. June 21, 2018.
A body was found on the Black River near Pringles Ferry Road by a tournament fisherman in Georgetown County on Thursday. June 21, 2018. jlee@thesunnews.com

A Georgetown motel employee dumped raw sewage into a marsh for one week, federal officials allege in an indictment.

Maurice Avent, a maintenance worker at Rodeway Inn, is charged in federal court in connection to discharging pollutant into United States waters in August 2018.

A federal indictment states two pumps stopped working around August and the wet well overflowed with raw sewage. When working, the wet well at the front of the property accumulates raw sewage. The sewage is then discharged into the City of Georgetown sewer system.

Avent allegedly installed a pump, attached a hose and directed the hose into the marsh behind the motel. The pump discharged raw sewage into the marsh for about one week, according to the indictment.

Laura Renwick, public information officer with S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, said DHEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began to investigate after receiving a complaint from the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center.

“DHEC and the City of Georgetown responded, and Rodeway Inn was required to immediately repair the site,” Renwick said. “The area where the dumping took place has historically been classified as prohibited for shellfish harvesting, so no emergency closures were necessary.”

After a week, Avent was approached by South Carolina officials and redirected the hose to the city sewer system, the indictment states.

According to U.S. law, the discharging of any pollutant into waters by a person without a permit is illegal.

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The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.


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