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News Releases from Region 04

TONIGHT: EPA to Host Public Meeting for Mississippi Phosphates Corporation Superfund Site Cleanup

10/10/2018
Contact Information: 
Davina Marraccini (marraccini.davina@epa.gov)
404-562-8293, 404-562-8400

ATLANTA (October 10, 2018) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public meeting tonight to share details about the first phases of cleanup at the Mississippi Phosphates Corporation (MPC) Superfund Site in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and answer questions.

What:            Public Meeting for the MPC Superfund Site

When:           Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where:          Pascagoula Senior Center, 1912 Live Oak Avenue in Pascagoula

Who:             EPA representatives

Press Availability – 5:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Members of the media should RSVP to marraccini.davina@epa.gov.

EPA added the MPC Site to the Superfund National Priorities List in January 2018. In April 2018, EPA announced a $71.6 million cleanup that will take place from 2018 through 2020, plus $36 million for ongoing wastewater treatment during cleanup.

Cleanup construction is expected to begin in October 2018, and will focus on the closure of the East Gypsum Stack and the North Ponds at the West Gypsum Stack over three phases (each lasting about a year). The cleanup will eliminate storage of more than 500 million gallons of contaminated wastewater and reduce the volume of wastewater requiring treatment by an estimated 98 percent.

In response to comments received during the public comment period, EPA evaluated and ultimately chose to use engineered geosynthetic turf as an alternative to a traditional soil and grass cap/cover system. This is expected to save an estimated $6 million, including $4.6 million on construction costs and $1.4 million in operations and maintenance costs (since it does not need to be mowed, fertilized, etc.).

These first phases of cleanup will be followed by a site-wide final cleanup. EPA will present its recommended site-wide cleanup remedy to the public for input before a final decision is made.

BACKGROUND

The MPC Site is a former diammonium phosphate fertilizer plant. The facility ceased operations in December 2014 following bankruptcy, leaving more than 700,000,000 gallons of acidic, nutrient-rich wastewater behind. In February 2017, EPA assumed control of wastewater treatment operations once the MPC Environmental Trust, which owns the property, ran out of funds.

The wastewater—if improperly discharged—may be toxic to fish and other forms of marine life, and can cause algal blooms. Previous releases of untreated wastewater from the Site (before EPA took over wastewater treatment operations) resulted in fish kills. EPA oversees wastewater treatment at a rate of approximately 2-4 million gallons per day, at a cost of $1 million per month, due to the high volume of wastewater requiring treatment. EPA has expended approximately $23.4 million to treat wastewater.

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a top priority to advance the Agency’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment.

For more information, visit the EPA website: www.epa.gov/superfund/ms-phosphates-corp

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

And on Twitter: @EPASoutheast

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