Lawsuit over spilled “nurdles” can move forward, judge says

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A judge has ruled that local environmentalist groups can take a plastic pellet packager to court.

The case stems from a spill that happened in July of last year which littered Lowcountry beaches with small plastic pellets, also known as nurdles.

Back in July of 2019, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control received a complaint regarding small plastic pellets being washed ashore on Sullivan’s Island – they then washed up on the Isle of Palms five days later, prompting an investigation into a spill originating from the port.

The pellets are the basis of almost all plastic products. They are shipped across the globe to manufacturers who melt, color, and shape the resin into plastic goods.

Charleston Waterkeeper and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League filed a lawsuit against Frontier Logistics, accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act.

“We’re hoping to see DHEC hold the polluter accountable, that hasn’t happened and that is why we’re taking this action today,” said Andrew Wunderly with Charleston Waterkeeper in October of last year. “We’ve got six week’s worth of sampling data that show is to be an on-going and continuing problem.”

This week, a judge denied the company’s attempt to get the case thrown out of court.

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