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News Releases from Region 04

Mississippi Phosphates Corporation Site Proposed to National Priorities List

07/31/2017
Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (pinkney.james@epa.gov)
(404) 562-9183

ATLANTA (July 31, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the former Mississippi Phosphates Corporation (MPC) site in Pascagoula, Miss., to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a list of sites that require further investigation in order to protect human health and the environment.

EPA adds sites to the NPL when mismanagement of contamination threatens human health and the environment. EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement at a site because states, tribes or citizens ask for the agency’s help. The agency may also find contamination during its own investigations.

“My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission. Today, we are adding sites to the Superfund National Priorities List to ensure they are cleaned up for the benefit of these communities,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, “When we clean up these sites, we make communities healthier places to live and clear the way for development and increased economic activity.”

The MPC site is located at 601 Industrial Road in Pascagoula. MPC is a former diammonium phosphate fertilizer plant that began operation in the 1950s. The facility ceased operations in December 2014 leaving more than 700,000,000 gallons of low-pH, contaminated wastewater stored at the facility. More than 9,000,000 additional gallons of contaminated water is generated with every one inch of rainfall.

An Environmental Trust, under the direction of MDEQ, managed wastewater treatment at the Site after MPC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2014. EPA assumed oversight of the MPC site when the Environmental Trust became insolvent on February 10, 2017. Currently, EPA is overseeing wastewater treatment at a rate of approximately 2,000,000 gallons per day and a cost of approximately $1,000,000 per month due to the high volume of wastewater generated that requires treatment.

Since assuming oversight of the MPC site, EPA has evaluated conditions at the site for proposal to the NPL. Proposal of the site to the NPL begins the public comment period. Following review of comments, EPA will make a final determination on this proposed listing. EPA will continue to oversee wastewater treatment operations at the MPC Site until the facility is sold or cleaned up and closed.

When EPA cleans up a site or a portion of a site, the site is available for beneficial uses. More than 850 Superfund sites nationwide have some type of actual or planned reuse underway.

Cleanups increase tax revenue and create jobs during and after cleanup. EPA reviewed 458 Superfund sites supporting use or reuse activities. The Agency found at the end of fiscal year 2016 that these sites had approximately 4,700 businesses with 131,000 employees and annual sales of more than $34 billion.

Community partnerships are critical to Superfund site cleanups. EPA's goal is to work with community partners at every site by establishing an effective process to fully explore future uses before the cleanup remedy’s selection. This approach gives EPA the best chance of ensuring remedies is consistent with a site’s likely future use.

Today’s NPL update follows the announcement of the Superfund Task Force recommendations to improve the Superfund program.

The task force’s recommendations focused on 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.

Work to prioritize and reinvigorate the program by the task force has been initiated and will be ongoing into the future.

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

For information about Superfund and the NPL:

http://www.epa.gov/superfund

Connect with EPA Region 4 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion4  

And on Twitter: @EPASoutheast

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