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News Releases from Region 04

Anticipated Heavy Rainfall Prompts EPA to Discharge Wastewater from the Mississippi Phosphates Corporation Site in Pascagoula, Miss.

07/26/2017
Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (pinkney.james@epa.gov)
(404) 562-9183 , (404) 562-8400
(ATLANTA – 07/25/2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that a discharge of wastewater is anticipated, at the Mississippi Phosphates Corporation (MPC) Site in Pascagoula, Miss. This intentional discharge of wastewater, known as a bypass, is being conducted because heavy rain is forecasted to exceed storage capacity of the on-site phosphogypsum stacks and wastewater treatment system.  
 
Maintaining site safety is EPA’s top priority in order to protect workers, nearby residents and the surrounding environment. EPA is coordinating closely with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and local officials to closely monitor the weather forecast and determine appropriate next steps. 
 
EPA will keep potentially impacted stakeholders informed of site conditions and of any additional public precautionary measures needed.
 
Wastewater bypasses authorized by the EPA must follow strict guidelines laid out in the Contingency Plan for Bypass and Spill Response for the facility. Discharged wastewater is partially treated and there are no anticipated impacts to the environment.
 
MPC is a former diammonium phosphate fertilizer plant that began operation in the 1950s. The facility ceased operations in December 2014 under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, leaving more than 700,000,000 gallons of low-pH, contaminated wastewater stored at the facility.
 
On Feb. 11, 2017, EPA assumed temporary control of wastewater treatment operations at the former MPC fertilizer facility once the MPC Environmental Trust, which owns the property, ran out of funds. Currently, EPA is overseeing wastewater treatment at a rate of approximately 2 million gallons per day. EPA will continue to oversee wastewater treatment operations at the MPC Site until the facility is sold or cleaned up and closed. Since 2002, there have been a total of 12 emergency bypasses and uncontrolled released from the MPC Site.
 
 
For more information about the Site, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/ms/mississippi-phosphates-corporation-mpc-faqs 
 
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