News Releases from Region 04
Former Mississippi Phosphates Corporation Facility On List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Attention by EPA
ATLANTA – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the list of Superfund sites that Administrator Pruitt has targeted for immediate and intense attention. The 21 sites on the list – from across the United States – are in direct response to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations, issued this summer, calling for this list. The former Mississippi Phosphates Corporation Site in Pascagoula is included on the list.
“By elevating these sites we are sending a message that EPA is, in fact, restoring its Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency’s mission,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Getting toxic land sites cleaned up and revitalized is of the utmost importance to the communities across the country that are affected by these sites. I have charged the Superfund Task Force staff to immediately and intently develop plans for each of these sites to ensure they are thoughtfully addressed with urgency. By getting these sites cleaned up, EPA will continue to focus on ways we can directly improve public health and the environment for people across America.”
The site 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. EPA is overseeing wastewater treatment at a rate of approximately 2,000,000 gallons per day—at a cost of approximately $1,000,000 per month—due to the high volume of wastewater generated that requires treatment. EPA will continue to oversee wastewater treatment operations at the MPC Site until the facility is sold or cleaned up and closed. EPA proposed listing the Site on the Superfund National Priorities List on August 8, 2017.
In developing this initial list, EPA considered sites that can benefit from Administrator Pruitt’s direct engagement and have identifiable actions to protect human health and the environment. These are sites requiring timely resolution of specific issues to expedite cleanup and redevelopment efforts. The list is designed to spur action at sites where opportunities exist to act quickly and comprehensively. The Administrator will receive regular updates on each of these sites.
The list is intended to be dynamic. Sites will move on and off the list as appropriate. At times, there may be more or fewer sites based on where the Administrator’s attention and focus is most needed. There is no commitment of additional funding associated with a site’s inclusion on the list.
EPA remains dedicated to addressing risks at all Superfund sites, not just those on the list. The Task Force Recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all Superfund sites and Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.
The Task Force, whose work is ongoing, has five overarching goals:
- Expediting cleanup and remediation;
- Reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties;
- Encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse;
- Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization; and
- Engaging with partners and stakeholders.
The Task Force will provide the public with regular updates as it makes progress on the Administrator’s Emphasis list and other Task Force activities.
The list of sites can be found: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-sites-targeted-immediate-intense-action
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