Koppers Co, Inc.

koppers site
Proposed site for hydrologic and habitat restoration along the Ashley River in Charleston, South Carolina

"We're excited to put forward restoration projects that will improve the health and function of wetlands that are so critical and treasured here in South Carolina's Lowcountry."

Krista McCraken

NOAA Restoration Center


Howard Schnabolk
NOAA Restoration Center
Charleston, SC
(843) 740-1328

Koppers Co, Inc.

Hazardous Waste |  Koppers, South Carolina | 1940s – Present


What Happened?

Starting as early as 1942, wood treatment and fertilizer manufacturing facilities were located at the Koppers, Co. site in Charleston, South Carolina. These facilities released hazardous substances into wetland and river habitat in and near the Ashley River. The groundwater at the site was also contaminated, and impacted nearby wetland and river habitat.

In January, 1993, Beazer East, Inc., worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate conditions at the site and take steps to clean up the contamination. Remedial activities were completed in 2003. The same year, the site was sold to a third party for commercial and mixed use development. 

What Were the Impacts?

Approximately 140 acres of tidal marsh and creeks were impacted by the hazardous material released at the Koppers Site. Contaminants included polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) consistent with those found in creosote, and heavy metals. The Trustees conducted a natural resource damage assessment and determined that both intertidal and subtidal habitats have been affected by the contamination. Sediment samples showed contaminant concentrations that would be toxic to benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates, including grass shrimp, and possibly fish, birds and mammals.

What’s Happening Now?

On January 7, 2019  the Department of Justice announced that a consent decree for this case was entered into the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. The approximately $3 million settlement will go toward resolving natural resource damage claims and to restore habitats injured by pollution. The final consent decree and other records can be found at the Koppers site administrative record.

The Trustees released the Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan, as well as the Environmental Assessment for the Koppers Site in May 2017. 

They then released a Draft Supplement to the 2017 Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Koppers Site on January 10, 2020 for a 30 public comment period. The draft supplement (PDF, 14 pages) plan describes a previously evaluated oyster reef creation project to replace the Long Branch Creek marsh creation project that was originally selected. The oyster project would create additional oyster reef habitat in the Charleston Harbor estuary and would compensate the public for injured natural resources as a result of the hazardous waste release at the site.  

To submit comments, please send them to Krista McCraken, NOAA Coastal Marine Specialist in Charleston, South Carolina, at krista.mccracken@noaa.gov with the subject line “Koppers Draft Supplement Restoration Plan Comment” by February 12, 2020. 

Or mail your comments to:

  • Krista McCraken ℅ NOAA Restoration Center
    2234 South Hobson Ave
    Charleston, SC 29405

Requests for hard copies of the draft plan should be submitted to the email or mailing address above before the February 12 comment deadline.




Last updated January 10, 2020