SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- State officials have approved a plan by the Spartanburg sewer district to remove hazardous chemicals from water and sludge deposits by January.

The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reports that Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer chief operating officer Rebecca West said Tuesday it will cost $2.5 million to remove the chemicals known as PCBs from 1.2 million gallons of contaminated water and sludge.

State and federal officials have approved the cleanup plan. Authorities began investigating earlier this year after PCBs were found in several Spartanburg County sewer districts. Officials said the contamination appears to be the result of the dumping of illegal materials into the sewer systems.

PCBs were used for decades in a variety of industrial applications but were banned in 1979 after tests showed they could cause ailments including cancer.

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Information from: Herald-Journal, http://www.goupstate.com/