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Members of the Lake Wylie Pilot editorial board were chatting about what local residents might not know about Lake Wylie and York County. As a result, the Pilot will run an occasional piece about our community. In light of last week’s news about Henry Knob’s water contamination, we thought we’d start with Lake Wylie’s monadnock, a Native American term for an isolated hill or a lone mountain that has risen above the surrounding area, typically by surviving erosion.
Word from the Environmental Protection Agency that the past mining operations at Henry’s Knob have contaminated some wells in the area near Clover is disquieting. Henry’s Knob is a monadnock (isolated mountain) three miles west of Clover off Highway 55 and named for William Henry, who received it in a grant from King George III.
Another monadnock, Nanny’s Mountain, is closer to Lake Wylie, being visible from many points in our community.
Mining operations from 1947 to 1970 and the consequent flooding of the excavated area of Henry’s Knob allowed contaminated water to pond up and penetrate into ground water in the area. This led to the EPA notice that some 50 wells are contaminated from the leaching of the tailings from the Kyanite mining. The two principal harmful products are manganese and cobalt.
Mining operations on Nanny’s Mountain – just south of Five Points between S.C. 49 and S.C. 274 accessible off Liberty Hill Road West – took place much earlier, during the Revolutionary War era.
Ore was mined on the side of the mountain and hauled on sleds to William Hill’s ironworks on Allison Creek. The mine is visible on a hike up the trail to the summit of Nanny’s Mountain. Fortunately, little damage was done by Hill’s operations unless ammunition manufactured from the ore struck a British soldier.
The good news is Nanny’s Mountain is now a York County park that provides hiking and wildlife viewing on its trails.
Hopeful news is one of the EPA’s proposals for remediation of the Henry’s Knob site will be effective, along with a resolution of the drinking water problem.