EPA holds meeting for Mississippi Phosphates plant

Pascagoula residents voiced their concerns at the EPA meeting tonight regarding the Mississippi Phosphate Plant. News 25’s Taylor Rubach attended the meeting and caught up with EPA members on what they plan to do with the site and also got some feedback from residents who were affected by the plant.
It’s a packed house filled with concerned residents ready to hear what the EPA plans to do with the Mississippi Phosphate Plant in Pascagoula. Mike Devine has been a Pascagoula resident, living in the Cherokee neighborhood over 50 years and he’s all too familiar with the hazardous materials filling the air. “When you go outside your door or if you’ve lived in that neighborhood, like I said, like I have for several years and your eyes burn and your eyes start watering and your lungs start hurting cause you try to take a breath and you can feel it like its pressing against your chest.”
Back in 2014, more than 700 million gallons of contaminated wastewater sat at the former phosphate site and for the EPA there’s a fair amount of work to be done.
On August 3rd, the EPA proposed to put the plant on the superfund national priorities list and to get the ball rolling, they’re going to have to continue to treat water to prevent an over top from going into Bayou Casotte and the Gulf of Mexico and figuring out how to close the east gypsum stack. EPA Superfund Project Manager Craig Zeller said, “It’s a pretty large area, several hundred acres that contains acidic materials, as well as a lot of nutrients. So, every time it rains, and it rains quite a bit down here, it generates another nine million gallons of acidic water than we have to treat, store on site to prevent an over top and then continue to treat it. So what we need to do is continue to cover it up cause when the rainfall does it, it falls on the clean ground and it generates nine more million gallons of water that we subsequently have to treat.”
Brenna Landis with Steps Coalition said, “Right now, with these gypsum piles, we just need this stuff out of the way and what the superfund would do is allow for a comprehensive plan to get it all of out here.”
So, the superfund is what residents ultimately need.

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